Death Pit

Roman Willi's Image

While trekking, Roman noticed little pits in the ground. He knew that in each pit lay an antlion larva, waiting to grab passing ants to eat. Finally, one reared up from its hiding place and Roman witnessed a catch. He focused on the scene, photographing the start of the struggle. The antlion larva eventually subdued its prey and dragged it underground.

Antlions look like dragonflies as adults, but their larvae live in the ground. An antlion larva digs a pit to trap its prey by crawling backwards in a spiral and pushing soil out above it. Digging continues until the pit reaches a critical slope – at which point, any disturbance above triggers a collapse. When prey falls in, the larva is ready with its spiny pincers.

Behind the lens

Roman Willi

Roman Willi


Roman is a wildlife photographer and videographer based in Lucerne, Switzerland. He strives to capture unique moments in the lives of wild animals. His focus is macro photography - making something visible that one cannot see with the naked eye has always fascinated him. Roman hopes to document never-seen behaviours and that his pictures will ultimately help nature conservation.

Image details

  • Sony ILCE-6500
  • Laowa 60mm f2.8 lens
  • 1/125 sec at f8  •   ISO 100  •   Nissin flash + diffuser
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