In the photos above, these small crater-like pits are made by the antlion larva in soft sand. Well who knew? I photographed the little craters along our walking path, where they typically appear beneath a cottonwood or willow tree, and began researching until I found what I believe to be the correct identification. In an article entitled “Denizens of The Sand,” by W. P. Armstrong, I learned that antlions “belong to the family Myrmeleontidae and include over 600 described species.” It is a winged creature with a long, slender body (somewhat like a dragon fly) and in the larval stage makes funnel-shaped, crater-like pits in soft sand where it waits patiently at the bottom to have lunch on small insects like ants who happen to fall in. It actually made its debut in the Star Trek II film, “The Wrath of Khan!” A similar large-scale model of the antlion “looks like something out of a science fiction horror movie.”
Good grief, it is a bit much to unearth not only tigers (salamanders) but (ant)lions living in the environs. I think I’ll pass on seeing “The Wrath of Khan!” It would only keep me up nights.