Texas Terrors

by Eric Neubauer

The owlfly (Ululodes macleayanus) isn’t really that scary to humans. It’s just an insect whose lineage goes way back to when dragonflies ruled the skies. It hunts at night and is closely related to antlions. Antlion larva dig pits in sand and hide at the bottom waiting from prey to slide down the sloping sides. I knew about antlions and encountered pits dug by larva, but never heard anything about owlflies.

This becomes the first iNaturalist observation of the Ululodes for Milam County (there are 800 in Texas, so they’re pretty obscure. I only got a single photo and was lucky to get that since it was perched on a grass stalk in the wind. It was taken with the macro lens I just bought.

You may recall the Anthrax pluto fly specimen I observed a while back. It turns out that the next week, Sue Ann Kendall saw another one, Anthrax larrea. I saw the same kind the next day! Between the two of us, we had most of the verified iNat observations in the whole United States.

I went through the Anthrax observations for Texas and found four as yet to be identified ones. So now there are seven. That the neat thing about this kind of research. Eventually there can be a lot of positive fallout.

It does appear to be one of the rarer species though since that’s only 7 out of 121 Anthrax observations in Texas.

Anthrax larrea