"Oh. Actually, I think it might be some kind of insect. I will call it 'Owlfly'. Because it looks just like an owl. EXACTLY like an owl. Amazing!"
That probably never happened. But what about their young? Do they look more like owls?
But it sure captures the atmosphere within the nest.
Alright, let's be honest: they do get their name from the adult.
|Image: Bernd Haynold|
|Image: John Tann|
|Image: Dan Irizarry|
Erm... young Owlflies are a little different.
So there's our young Owlfly, brandishing her jaws like a dual-wielding Grim Reaper. A poisonous, dual-wielding Grim Reaper, since those mighty tusks also inject a paralyzing venom so they can suck out the insides in peace, once all that squirming and struggling has grown tedious. And then you have to add the guerilla tactics, since many of these beasts are remarkably well camouflaged ambushers.
Fairly normal legs
It also looks a lot like an Antlion and indeed, Antlions and Owlflies belong to the same superfamily. They're sisters! Sisters in
They're not twins, though, so there are some differences.
Firstly, Owlflies lay their eggs on twigs and vegetation rather than sand. A good idea, since youngsters spend their time on trees and plants or in the undergrowth. They don't build those sand pit traps so many Antlions do, they just hang around waiting for prey to come close enough to pounce on.
This is probably why their legs look quite normal, compared to the odd menagerie Antlions use for burrowing and flicking sand.
Another curious distinction are the peculiar bits sticking out all around the edge of the Owlfly larva's body, like one of those fringe skirts in full swing. They have these things right from the egg, and they're all hairy and weird. I wonder if they help break up their outline to improve camouflage? Maybe they help keep their whole body flush with the trees or rocks they're standing on?
Killed a roach about as big as itself.
Ants don't even know what's going on.
However, peel themselves away all little larvae must. They will eventually create a silk cocoon for themselves hidden away in leaf litter.