What’s this freaky thing?
Location: Queensland, Australia
September 13, 2010 10:16 pm
Can you give me any idea on what this little critter is? Not the big dark bit that appears to be the remains of an ant head but the little shrimp like creature underneath that has attached it to its back like some sort of hermit crab. It also appears to have pincers similar to an ant lion. Is it possibly something along the lines of a lacewing nymph? It is minute, hardly visible under its load.
We haven’t begun to try to research your species on the Australian insect websites, but we are certain that this is the larva of a Lacewing, many of which carry about shelters constructed from the carcasses of their victims. Here is a link to some North American debris carrying Lacewing Larvae on BugGuide. The Brisbane Insect website has a page on Green Lacewings in the family Chrysopidae that includes a photo of a debris carrying Lacewing Larva. In North America, these larvae are sometimes called Aphid Wolves.