Effect of spatial pattern and microhabitat on pit construction and relocation in Myrmeleon hyalinus (Neuroptera

Inon Scharf, Yael Hollender, Aziz Subach, Ofer Ovadia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


1. In two sets of enclosure experiments, we studied the spatial pattern, relocation rates, pit construction rates, and microhabitat preference of Myrmeleon hyalinus larvae. 

2. We showed that M. hyalinus larvae actively prefer shady sites and often relocate to shady areas when exposed to the sun. This behaviour may constitute a life-saving strategy in desert environments. 

3. The initial spatial pattern in a cluster of antlion larvae did not affect the final pattern, relocation rate, or the pathway moved while relocating. We interpret this finding to mean that the spatial pattern of M. hyalinus larvae is mainly influenced by factors operating at large time-scales, such as exploitation competition and physical-microclimatological constraints, rather than those operating at shorter time-scales, such as interference competition. 

4. In contrast, the likelihood of pit construction was positively correlated with nearest neighbour distance, possibly as a result of interference competition. 

5. Pit construction rates were constant throughout the experiment, while relocation rates decreased with time. 

6. Contrary to previous studies, we found no correlation between body mass and spatial position inside the cluster, suggesting that these differences are the products of slower processes (e.g. exploitation and body condition).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-345
Number of pages9
JournalEcological Entomology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2008


  • Antlions
  • Habitat selection
  • Null model
  • Sit-and-wait predators
  • Spatial pattern

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


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