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How the Doodle got its name

I think most folks know that the Pickens Doodle was named for some insect known as a “Doodlebug,” but I can find no record of anyone having ever specified just exactly which insect that was and why it would be associated with the train.

Well, I have done a fair amount of research on the subject, and I can say with some confidence that in the 1890s, when the Pickens Doodle made its historic maiden voyage down the tracks, it came to be known for its similarity to the larval stage of the antlion.

The larva of the antlion, known to generations of children, is a little bug that feeds on ants and captures them by making a conical tunnel in sandy soils. The tunnel is rimmed with a mound of loose sand, and when an ant approaches, the doodlebug waits in the bottom of the hole for the ant to lose its footing on the edge of the sand trap. The antlion, with its wicked-looking mandible claws, clamps down and then pulls the hapless ant into its lair.

Children (including myself) have for time immemorial obtained some amusement by taking a blade of grass, a small twig or a pine needle, and sticking it down in the doodlebug’s tunnel, which the bug grabs and holds on tight. The child then pulls out his catch and

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