How do adult antlions escape their traps?
Antlions are the predatory larvae of rather flimsy lacewing-type insects. They burrow into loose, dry, sandy soil, excavating a conical pit – the treacherous slope of which, resting at an unstable angle, crumbles underfoot of any insect careless enough to stray into it. By flicking up grains of the sand to disorientate and quite literally undermine its prey, the antlion draws the hapless victim down into its formidable jaws. Once fully grown, the adult insect must now scramble out of its own pitfall trap. However, without constant active maintenance, the slope has now settled to a more stable angle, a mere dip in the ground, and the adult antlion can emerge elegant and sure-footed.