Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Horrifying Tuesday : Antlion

It's that time of the week again, Horrifying Tuesday. Today, we're going to talk about a creature that brings your sand-dune-sink-hole nightmares to a reality. (On a miniature scale of course.) Allow me to introduce you to the Antlion or better known as, the "doodlebug" due to the mysterious marks it leaves behind in the sand. (Which happens to resemble doodles in the sand by young child)

These lines must indicate that young-hearted fiends are nearby!

With no relation to the Antlion in the Half-Life series, these creatures are well known for their sand pit traps which comprise of capturing small, unsuspecting creatures in a rapidly decaying pits. It all starts with a humble-sized larva and its basic instinct in the big, bad world. The larva would dig a pit into the sand about 2 inches deep and 3 inches wide at the edge, creating a downward-facing cone shape in the sand. (Unless they manage to bend the laws of physics and make the sand particles stand with magic.)

Luckily for you, these are the video game versions.

In order to build such magical pits, they would mark out a specific area in the sand, begin crawling backwards and use its "stomach" to push dirt and sand out of the hole as it sinks down. Using one of its front legs to push heaps of sand onto is head and with a quick jerk to throw the sand aside, the Antlion slowly spins 'round and 'round until the slope angle of the pit reaches the steepest angle the sand can maintain without collapsing. When the Antlion is done and satisfied with his new nifty trap, he'll sit in the bottom with only his jaws exposed and wait for his next prey.

"These gas prices are outrageous!" - Attempt to gain your trust

Any small creature unfortunate enough to find themselves at the edge of one of these traps will find themselves tumbling down the cone as the walls of sand collapses around them. If the poor creature manages to grab hold on one of the sides of the pit, the Antlion has a clear-cut solution in which he'll throw sand at the terrified creature until they lose footing or until the walls of the pit collapses, bringing the delicious, delectable prey into the Antlion's gaping jaws.

After the unspecified creature finds themselves at the teeth of the Antlion, they can expect a death that's beyond non-heroic. The Antlion larvae will use its jaws to chomp onto the prey and effectively suck all the fluids out of the victim before flicking the spent carcass into the warm sand above-- not a particularly glamorous death. The process begins again when the Antlion cleans out the collapsed pit and re-steepens the walls for the next meal. Obviously, you wouldn't want your little spider babies to know that you died in this terrifying manner.

Unless you've got a thing for this sorta stuff.

Okay, I'll admit it here, this animal won't really change the way you live in the next five seconds. However, it'll give you another story to tell the girls at the club so that they'll ignore the fact that you're empty inside.

This shallow stream is the physical manifestation of your personality. Just so you know.