Tropical Ecology and Conservation [Monteverde Institute]

Alternative Title

Cambios en la construcción de hoyos por los gusanos león (Vermilionidae) en respuesta a los insumos de energía y alteraciones


Luke Hillman



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Publication Date

August 2008


Wormlions are insects that, like antlions, are sit and wait predators in their larval stages, for whom optimizing energy expenditures is crucial because of potentially long periods of starvation. Initial pit depth and pit growth rates of antlions have been shown to decrease in response to limited food resources. Due to the similar foraging technique of worm and antlions, wormlions were hypothesized to show similar responses. Thirty-two wormlions were randomly divided into four treatments: fed-disturbed (FD), fed-undisturbed (FU), unfed-disturbed (UD) or unfed-undisturbed (UU). An aphid was dropped into wormlion pits of the FU and FD treatments, and pits in “disturbed” treatments were overturned daily. Pit volume was calculated daily from pit measurements, plotted against time and analyzed with regression equations. No statistical difference in pit growth rates (t14 = 0.939, p = .364) or elevation (t 15 = .0487, p = 0.962) was reported between fed and unfed treatments. By extrapolating pit volumes of the FU and UU treatments, the optimum pit volume was estimated to be 5.92 cm3. Although not significant, a decrease in initial pit volume appeared to exist for unfed wormlions (t17 = 1.848, p = 0.082). The data suggest that wormlions have more efficient pit construction adaptations in response to shorter larval development and limited predation opportunities.


Los gusanos león son insectos que al igual que las hormigas león, son depredadores que se sientan y esperan en sus etapas larvales, para las cuales es crucial optimizar gastos energéticos debido a los periodos potencialmente largos de hambre. Se ha demostrado que la profundidad del hoyo inicial y las tasas de crecimiento de las hormigas león disminuyen en respuesta a los limitados recursos alimenticios. Debido a la técnica similar de alimentación del gusano y las hormigas león, se presume que los gusanos león muestran respuestas similares.


Insects--Behavior, Insects, CIEE Summer 2008

Palabras claves

Insectos--Comportamiento, Insectos, CIEE Verano 2008


8 pages

Geographic Location

Monteverde (Puntarenas, Costa Rica)

Holding Location

Monteverde Institute


English; Spanish

Media Type



Digital Only





Changes in wormlion (Vermilionidae) pit construction in response to energy inputs and disturbances, August 2008



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