Two antlion species found for first time in India, Thailand

Updated - June 08, 2024 03:05 am IST

Published - June 07, 2024 08:30 pm IST - Thrissur

Pseudoformicaleo nubecula

Pseudoformicaleo nubecula | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Researchers have found two poorly known antlion species of Myrmeleontidae family of order Neuroptera from India, Thailand, and Vietnam. They are Pseudoformicaleo nubecula and Creoleon cinnamomeus.

The research team of the Shadpada Entomology Research Lab, Christ College (Autonomous), Irinjalakuda, Thrissur, are behind the findings.

The antlion species Pseudoformicaleo nubecula (Gerstaecker, 1885) was found in India from Kalashamala, Mulamkunnathukavu, and Irinjalakuda in Thrissur; Aroor and Elamaram in Malappuram; Periye in Kasaragod; and in Thailand from Chiang Dao in Wiang Haeng district.

Creoleon cinnamomeus

Creoleon cinnamomeus | Photo Credit: SPL

Another antlion species Creoleon cinnamomeus (Navás, 1913) was found in India from Vazhayur in Malappuram; Madayipara in Kannur; Kalashamala in Thrissur; and in Vietnam from Phú Quốc island.

Doctoral scholar Suryanarayanan T.B.; research supervisor Bijoy C., Assistant Professor of Christ College; and Hungarian scientist Levente Ábrahám are behind the discovery.

The findings have been published in the recent issue of international scientific journals such as Journal of Insect biodiversity and Oriental Insects.

Pseudoformicaleo nubecula has been reported in other countries such as Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. While Creoleon cinnamomeus has been reported only from China, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.

“Adults of antlions are misidentified as damselflies by non-taxonomists because of their morphological resemblance. Antlions can be easily distinguished by their long distinct antennae. They come under order Neuroptera, which includes holometabolous insects, while the damselflies come under order Odonata, which includes hemimetabolous insects,” says Dr. Bejoy.

“Antlions are commonly known by their pit-building habit. Larval stages of only some of antlion genera construct the conical pits in loose dry soil as their predation strategy. Larvae of Pseudoformicaleo and Creoleon does not build pit, lives under surface in loose soils protected from direct sunlight, wind and rain. The genus Pseudoformicaleo has been reported for the first time from India. This is the seventh antlion species reported from Kerala and 120th species from India,” says Dr. Bejoy.

The research was conducted with financial assistance from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. The Shadpada Entomology Research Lab has a special emphasis on research in such organisms.

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