Aphid Lion

I love this weird bug: the aphid lion. It eats the teensy wooly aphids—they look like single snowflakes—that are drifting down from Hackberry trees everywhere.

But get this: all the fluffy stuff on this guy is not actually this guy. The fluffy stuff is a wig made of wee dead bodies. The aphid lion excavates the innards of its prey via a sucking mouthpart, and then piles the desiccated bodies on its back AS CAMOUFLAGE.

It is a sheep in wolf’s clothing for sure, ’cause it looks like a jumbo version of its plant-eating prey. Aggressive mimicry at its finest.

I removed a piece of camouflage to see what would happen, and the aphid lion stopped, found the fallen corpse, wove it back into the tangle, then kept on walking.

All those cartoony, twinkling legs under the load make me giggle (because I am not an aphid). And why do I keep thinking of Phyllis Diller’s hair?

0 0 0

(EDITED: Here’s a later post about the aphid lion egg and a hatchling. Aphid lions are the larva of green lacewings.)

One thought on “Aphid Lion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s