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Antlions (Glenurus) are a genus made up of 9 species. Their larvae have only two mandibular teeth. unlike the larvae of other genera in their family, Myrmeleontidae. The larvae live in dry tree holes, under rocks, or under tree roots. Adults of different species can move very quickly, but larvae move very slowly. (Stange, 2000; Stange and Miller, 2015)

What do they look like?

Adult antlions have a long body and four wings. They look similar to dragonflies and damselflies. Their wings are the most eye-catching part of their bodies. The wings of most species of this genus are long, shaped the same, see-through, and patterned with dark colors. Different-winged antlions (Glenurus heteropteryx) are the only species in this genus that do not have dark coloring on both wings. Larvae of antlions have two mandibular teeth. They are cone-shaped and have small patches of hair. (Stange, 1970; Stange and Miller, 2015)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes alike

Where do they live?

Antlions are distributed throughout the United States in Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, and Tennessee. Species of this genus have been found in Mexico and Argentina. (Stange, 1970; Stange, 2000)

What kind of habitat do they need?

Larve live in dry tree holes, rotting wood, under rocks and tree roots, tree stumps, and in gopher tortoise burrows. Many larvae are found in the presence of animal waste and wood debris. Antlion larvae are commonly found in and around southern live oak trees. (Stange, 2000; Stange and Miller, 2015)

  • These animals are found in the following types of habitat
  • temperate

How do they grow?

Not much is known about the egg-laying and eggs of antlions. Depending on the amount of available food and the temperature outside, the larval stage can last for up to two years. Once fully grown, the larvae create a cocoon that is about 13 mm in diameter. The cocoons are found partially or fully buried in wood debris. Adults leave the cocoon up to 28 days after it was built. (Stange and Miller, 2015)

How do they reproduce?

No information about mating systems for this genus was found.

Eggs hatch after fertilization and larvae emerge. (Stange and Miller, 2015)

No information about parental involvement for this genus was found. (Stange and Miller, 2015)

  • Parental Investment
  • no parental involvement

How long do they live?

The life cycle of antlions is 1-2 years. (Stange and Miller, 2015)

How do they behave?

Antlions are found in and around tree holes, in burrows of animals, and under rocks. Adults are attracted to light and can be seen flying near light sources at night. Larvae may dig or chase prey. Sometimes, the larvae will lay in wait of prey. (Stange, 2000; Stange and Miller, 2015)

How do they communicate with each other?

Not much is known about the communication and perception of antlions. They may use visual, chemical, and tactical perception. Chemical and tactical communication is likely.

What do they eat?

Antlions are a genus of predators. Adults often feed on caterpillars and aphids. Larvae feed on the insects that share their habitats, such as ants, beetle larvae, termites, and other insect larvae like tineid moths. (Stange and Miller, 2015)

What eats them and how do they avoid being eaten?

The larvae of antlions are cryptic; they use their cone-shape as a camouflage. Parasites and predators of this genus are not known. (Stange and Miller, 2015)

  • These animal colors help protect them
  • cryptic

What roles do they have in the ecosystem?

Antlions are a genus of insect predators. Larvae and adults hunt and catch insects. Spotted-winged antlions, members of a different genus in the same family, have been recorded living in the same habit.

Species (or larger taxonomic groups) that are mutualists with this species

Do they cause problems?

There are no known adverse effects of antlions on humans.

How do they interact with us?

The hunting and feeding habits of antlions in this genus benefit humans by controlling pest populations.

  • Ways that people benefit from these animals:
  • controls pest population

Are they endangered?

No special status.

  • IUCN Red List [Link]
    Not Evaluated


Deena Hauze (author), Animal Diversity Web Staff.


Penny, N., P. Adams, L. Stange. 1997. Species catalog of the Neuroptera, Megaloptera, and Raphidioptera of America North of Mexico. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, 50(3): 39-114. Accessed May 15, 2020 at

Stange, L. 2000. "A Checklist and Bibliography of the Megaloptera and Neuroptera of Florida" (On-line). Florida State Collection of Arthropods. Accessed May 15, 2020 at

Stange, L. 1970. A generic revision and catalog of the Western Hemisphere Glenurini with the description of a new genus and species from Brazil (Neuroptera: Myrmeleontidae). Contributions in Science, 186: 1-28. Accessed May 14, 2020 at

Stange, L. 2000. Observations on the biology of the antlion genus Glenurus Hagen (Neuroptera: Myrmeleontidae). Insecta Mundi, 14(4): 228. Accessed May 14, 2020 at

Stange, L., R. Miller. 2015. "common name: an antlion/scientific name: Glenurus gratus (Say) (Insecta: Neuroptera: Myrmeleontidae)" (On-line). Featured Creatures. Accessed May 14, 2020 at

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Hauze, D. 2020. "Glenurus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed February 24, 2024 at

BioKIDS is sponsored in part by the Interagency Education Research Initiative. It is a partnership of the University of Michigan School of Education, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, and the Detroit Public Schools. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DRL-0628151.
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