Baboy-baboy alias antlion

I was saving what I could from my Multiply account following the announcement that it will be chucking out social media type of service when I saw this entry about what we as children called “baboy-baboy”.

Baboy-baboy was a favorite catch among us children then. We would be crouched beside the wooden building of Ateneo de Davao, where the rain couldn’t reach and the soil was very dry. There was some excitement upon seeing the conical holes that meant there were baboy-baboy there.

Once you see these conical holes, the norm was to look for the bigger ones if not the biggest one because that means the baboy-baboy there was big. The small cones were ignored and for a reason…

Once the hole is chosen, you bend as low as you can, your lips almost touching the dry dusty soil and blow hard toward the center of the hole to dislodge the dust and expose the insect.

After you dislodge the dust, you go grab the baboy-baboy, pick a strand of hair and… tie the hairstrand around the baboy-baboy’s neck. That’s the reason why you would only want to get the big ones. It will be very difficult even for a child to tie a hairstrand around the neck of a small baboy-baboy.

Like this.

Looking at what this boy just did and remembering how we were doing it as a kid reminded me that it has been a lifetime ago since I last did that. I cannot even get the baboy-baboy’s neck in focus now, and that is while I’m already using my eyeglasses.

During those days long ago, photography has not yet been democratized by digital technology, thus SLRs were hard to come by much less SLRs with macro lenses. Those stuff were super-expensive then. We also didn’t find the need for a magnifying glass, and so we never really noticed how scary a baboy-baboy looked like when magnified. Look, it even has something like a pincer.

This set of photos was taken in 2008 in barangay Marilog. It has been a long time since I have seen a child look for baboy-baboy, maybe because children in urban areas are no longer fascinated by these insects. My curiosity about the baboy-baboy was thus sparked and that was only then when I realized, not one of us bothered to know what is the English name of baboy-baboy.

I wouldn’t have known where to start since nothing can be gleaned if you go around searching for “baboy-baboy” in the Internet. Luckily, it was around that time when a informational television show featured… baboy-baboy! It’s called antlion, the show host said.

It’s actually just a larva of a group of insects belonging to the family Myrmeleontidae.

With that as initial information, here’s what wikipedia says about “baboy-baboy” aka antlion: “Strictly speaking, the term antlion applies to the larval form form of the members of this family, but while several languages have their own terms for the adult, there is no widely used word for them in English. Very rarely, the adults are called ‘antlion lacewings’.”


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