Habitat preference of wormlions and their behavioural repeatability under illumination/shade conditions

Noa Katz, Aziz Subach, Jonathan N. Pruitt, Inon Scharf*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


1. Animal personality is defined as the repeatable between-individual differences in behaviour over time and contexts. Some personality traits, such as activity or aggression, have received much attention while other behaviours, such as habitat preference or learning, have been neglected. 2. Wormlion larvae are sit-and-wait dipteran predators that inhabit shaded microhabitats in the field and also prefer shade in the laboratory. The aim of the present study was to examine wormlion larvae behavioural repeatability in general and specifically in the context of habitat preference. In order to achieve this, three experiments were conducted to determine whether, to what extent and under which conditions wormlion preference for shaded microhabitats is repeatable. 3. Individual tendency to relocate when the environment conditions deteriorate was also assessed, by switching between shaded and illuminated conditions, either with or without pit destruction. 4. Larvae showed a highly repeatable preference for shade. Repeatability was detected in additional behavioural traits: pit construction, pit area and tendency to relocate. 5. This behavioural repeatability was demonstrated under constant microhabitat conditions, with distinct behaviours in each setting. Under constant illumination, wormlions constructed smaller pits, moved over longer distances and were found at the tray edges more frequently than under constant shade conditions, suggesting that illuminated environments are perceived as risky or unsuitable. 6. Switching between the two microhabitat conditions without pit destruction induced fewer relocations than switching with pit destruction, suggesting that wormlions do not tend to abandon their pits, even if their microhabitat conditions deteriorate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)716-726
Number of pages11
JournalEcological Entomology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • Antlion
  • habitat selection
  • personality
  • relocation
  • trap-building predators


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