This fabulous creature was ~4 cms long on a French toilet-block wall. (Embarrassing place to use a camera + long lens!)
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What an amazing insect! Is it the larvae that devour ants and give it its common name? The famous French entomologist JH Fabre wrote about them, I believe.
University of Edinburgh and Biodiversity Observatory (OU)
Yes, Jonothan, I'm far from knowledgeable but my very rudimentary field guide says it's the larvae that pray on insects, frequently ants. Some dig pits into which the pray falls, though not this one's (if my id is correct). The larvae of this lie in dry leaf litter. [It says here :))]
Splendid beast! It's either Europleon (also found in France) or Distoleon - they are separated by the venation of the hind wing, but as the fore- and hind-wings are overlapping, I can't see clearly enough to tell. Blue tinge suggests Distoleon as you say...
Yes, I spotted that venation distinction in my field guide. I've never been a fan of endangering anything in order to identify it, though. A camera is as close as I like to get. I'm just thrilled to have seen something entirely new to me.
I'm with you there - there's a place for more invasive sampling, but IMO only when necessary.
...and you don't have to go as far as France to see Ant Lions!
They have been breeding in Suffolk since the 1980s - best places to see the larval pits are Dunwich Heath (NT) and also behind the RSPB visitor centre.
(the species found in Suffolk is Euroleon nostras)
I've only seen them once in the UK but worth a look if you're in the area and happen to like invertebrates.
Lat/Lng: 44.7, 5.2