Shri Jasnath Asan, Rajasthan, India
Photo © Shri Jasnath Asan, 2016
If you love nature, you just have to be fascinated by its wide variety and how each species lives their life. No matter how small or seemingly insignificant, each has a place in this world and all are civilizations with their own special skills, adaptations and behaviors that have evolved over the eons.
Take a look at the pictures above. The small, conical depression, only about 3 cm deep and 5 cm wide at the edge are often found in loose dry soil or sand are made by the fiercely predatory larvae of the antlion. Species in this family are found around the world and are as common in Red Rock Canyon or Desert National Wildlife Refuge of southern Nevada as they are on the Ashram grounds in Rajasthan.
These pits are one of the simplest and most efficient traps in the animal kingdom. After expertly digging the pit the antlion larvae buries himself in the center of the pit with just his deadly jaws extended … and patiently … very patiently, waits … and waits, until an unsuspecting ant tumbles into his trap.
The pit trap has been carefully constructed, with the sand exactly at the angle of repose, so the slightest disruption by a small insect will cause the pit walls to collapse and slide the insect, on an avalanche of sand, down toward the beckoning jaws of the antlion buried in the center. If the ant tries to climb his way out of the pit the antlion starts expertly heaving sand with his head. With the accuracy of a major league pitcher, the antlion is able to knock his unfortunate prey back down.
After as much as two years of dwelling in a pit trap, the larvae will form a small cocoon and adults will emerged as a beautiful, delicate, flying insect that is reminiscent of a lacewing or damselfly.
Panchla Siddha, India
Sharon K. Schafer
I paint, photograph, and speak about wild places in an act of reciprocity that is as vital to me as heartbeat or breath.
My interest in the magic and mystery of the natural world lies at the intersection of art and science.
Made possible through
the generosity of
Generous support and inspiration provided by
Shri Jasnath Asan