Forest floor oddities

On the ridge’s sandy pathways you will see small, funneled holes in the ground, which may be abundant in some places. These won’t always have been made Nordic walkers, but by antlions. The name is somewhat misleading, as it is actually a member of the myrmeleontidae family.

Antlions are quite common on open, sandy paths. Sometimes, you can see the larva leave a roughly 1 cm wide hole. They crawl below the ground using powerful jaws and wait. When ants, spiders and beetles move directly over the funnel of an antlion, its powerful jaws are used to drag the prey underground. It takes two years for the larvae to develop into an adult, meaning the larve waits two summers deep under the sand it has dug through. In the third spring, it rests in its cocoon for three weeks before freeing itself. An adult antlion is gray and about 3-4 mm in length. It has a thin shape and is a poor flier, which is why it usually moves only at night. In July, they can also be seen flying slowly during the day over the area where the larvae are present.

Poecilus cupreus (ground beetles) are relatively long-limbed and fast-running creatures. They can occasionally be very abundant, especially on the more open western end of the ridge area. Most are predators who catch their prey by running. To the ground beetle family also belongs the common tiger beetles which are 1.5 to 4 cm in length and which like to move in sunny sandy areas. These are recognisable by their large eyes and strong jaws that catch large insects for nutrition. They will take to the air to catch prey and avoid being attacked.

In addition there is also is a metallic green beetle of less than 2 cm in length. Locally, it can be the most common insect on the ground and is a predator that will also feast on carrion and small animals.