These alien looking things turn into lovely looking lacewings
Lurking in the sand are creatures which have been described as ‘demons in the dust’. They are the larvae of a member of the lacewing family that prey on small invertebrates which stray into their traps.
The ant-lion detects the movement of woodlice, ants and other prey using tiny hairs on their body and either wait for them to fall to the bottom of the trap or flick up sand to knock them down. These unlucky creatures are grabbed in the larva’s powerful pincers and the juices sucked out of their bodies via a tube. The traps, often all that is seen of the ant-lion, are conical pits which it forms by flicking sand outwards with its head. They are found in colonies in loose, dry sand at the base of small south facing sandy cliffs protected by overhanging vegetation or on the root-plates of fallen trees. The larvae take two years to mature in the ground where they pupate and emerge in late summer as winged adults which, in their brief lives, mate and lay eggs in the sand. They are sometimes attracted to moth traps.