Tropical Ecology and Conservation [Monteverde Institute]

Alternative Title

Selección para la sobrevivencia : preferencia por el tamaño del grano de tierra y el tamaño corporal en las larvas wormlion (sp vermilio.) afectan la construcción de la trampa del hoyo


Alice McCarthy



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Publication Date

December 2007


Sessile predatory larvae rely on their habitats to provide biotic and abiotic factors needed for sufficient prey capture. I examined the hypothesis that for Vermilio sp. (wormlion) larvae, body size and soil grain size affect pit trap size and prey capture efficiency. At the Estación Biológica de Monteverde in Costa Rica. I measured and compared larva size versus pit trap size, put larvae in containers with half fine grain soil (< 2 mm) and half coarse grain soil (2 mm to 6 mm), tested for preference, and compared size of pit traps constructed in the two soil types. I also dropped ants into pits and measured time to escape and frequency of capture by the larvae. Pit trap size was positively correlated with larva size. Larvae preferred fine grain soil over coarse grain soil ( χ2 = 45.08, df = 1, P < 0.01) and constructed traps less often in coarse grain soil. I found no difference between pit trap sizes in fine and coarse grain soil, yet sample size was small and I noted the trend that ants remained trapped in fine grain soil longer than in coarse grain soil. Preference for fine grain soil indicates habitat selection of larval Vermilio sp. for areas that increase prey capture, therefore promoting the survival of the species. Las larvas depredadoras sésiles confían en sus hábitats para que provean los factores bióticos y abióticos necesarios para capturar suficientes presas. Yo examiné la hipótesis que en Vermilio spp. (Gusanos león) el tamaño de las larvas y el tamaño del grano de la tierra afectarían el tamaño del hoyo de sus trampas y la eficiencia de la captura de sus presas en la Estación Biológica de Monteverde, Costa Rica.


Larvae--Behavior, Larvas--Comportamiento, Predator and prey, Depredador y presa, Monteverde Biological Station (Costa Rica), Estacion Biologica de Monteverde (Costa Rica), CIEE Fall 2007, CIEE Otoño 2007


Student affiliation : Department of zoology, University of Wisconsin - Madison Born Digital

Subject: topical

Larvae--Behavior; Larvas--Comportamiento; Predator and prey; Depredador y presa; CIEE Fall 2007; CIEE Otoño 2007

Subject: geographic

Monteverde Biological Station (Costa Rica); Estacion Biologica de Monteverde (Costa Rica)



Holding Location

Monteverde Institute MVI



Selection for survival  :  soil grain size preference and body size in wormlion (Vermilio sp.) larvae affect pit trap construction



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