"In case it
gets hold of something a little strong, it can't be pulled out of the
hole," Mr. Pallister explained.
finds his best bug hunting in the drift thrown up by the tide. Combing this
line of debris, he turns over driftwood and seaweed and is delighted when
insects flee in all directions.
In fine, dry sand
beyond wave action and usually in a sheltered place next to a log he finds
small round holes shaped like inverted cones. These are the lairs of
The doodlebug, or
ant lion, has a fat body and a large pair of pinchers. It travels backward.
When it digs its hole it moves in a circle until it has made a depression. Then
it keeps tossing sand out of the bottom of the hole until it has formed a
perfect funnel-shaped trap of loose sand. At the bottom of this pit the
doodlebug lurks completely hidden. When a scurrying ant or other heedless
insect tumbles into the hole, it is unable to climb out again because of the
bad footing on the walls of the trap. When it slides to the bottom the
doodlebug grabs with its pinchers and pulls it to oblivion beneath the sand.
Mr. Pallister likes doodlebugs.
nice pets," he said. "You keep them in a box of sand and provide them
with an ant occasionally."
Then he talked of
the scarabs—the gold bug and the fig-eater—that drone over the beach at night;
of the long-horned, wood-boring beetles that bumble through the darkness in
search of better wood in which to bore; of flies and fleas and mole
"The beach is
a great place," Pallister said.
Then he bent over
a tray of insects which he had been examining until confronted with the
photograph of Calosoma scrutator, the green caterpillar hunter.