From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Insects (Rated GA-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Insects, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of insects on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
 GA  This article has been rated as GA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
Wikipedia CD Selection
WikiProject icon Antlion is included in the Wikipedia CD Selection, see Antlion at Schools Wikipedia. Please maintain high quality standards; if you are an established editor your last version in the article history may be used so please don't leave the article with unresolved issues, and make an extra effort to include free images, because non-free images cannot be used on the DVDs.

How named?[edit]

How did they get their name? They don't look like lions... --Abdull 21:56, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

They eat ants ~VeledanTalk + new 01:14, 10 September 2005 (UTC)

I'm sure they're named after the mythological ant-lion, which has a lion's head. I'm trying to find the article about said creature... let's see..

That story's actually so complicated that I did not put it in here yet. The German de:Ameisenlöwe has a detailed explanation on this... there is a connection, but it's not straightforward. Itseems that the chimerical "ant-lion" was invented after Ancient Greek reports of "gold-digger ants" in "India" (which meant southern Asia in general then), which in turn seem to be based on the living antlion. Dysmorodrepanis (talk) 11:31, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

-> I just came across this and I have as a child always known these to be called "Devil-Devil". It may be an Australian slang for the name, just thought I'd add it in here maybe it could be implemented into the text somehow. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:38, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

I live in Australia and I've never heard them called either "ant-devil" as per text, or "devil-devil" (see above). Ant lion and doodlebug are the only names I've ever heard used. Ptilinopus (talk) 13:55, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

Star Wars[edit]

I can't help but wonder if the Ant Lion was the inspiration for the Sarlaac pits in Star Wars? Stovetopcookies 06:00, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

They definitely are, but I can't find a source that says that has of now KjtheDj 23:22, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

  • Here, it says on wikipedia, if you look up Sarlaac. "Astrophysicist and science-fiction author Jeanne Cavelos compares the Sarlacc to the antlion" KjtheDj 23:33, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
The way it feeds would be like the Sarlacc, pit with steep sides. But for a movie reference it kinda blows, of course the Antlion larvea form is used in Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan. The mind control momma bug. (talk) 08:09, 17 July 2010 (UTC)


Should'nt there be a mention of the Half-Life creatures? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:05, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

These have been the inspiration for enemies in games long before the Half-Life series. Examples off the top of my head include the Pokemon Trapinch and that many Final Fantasy games have had a boss based off of antlions. Wikipedia tends to avoid trivia sections but will typically include any and all possible references if something like an "In Popular Culture" section is made. There really shouldn't be a sole reference to Half-Life, even as a redirect at the top of the page; that would be better handled by a disambiguation, but even that is unnecessary: if I go to the Medusa article, I'd be willing to bet there wouldn't be a redirect link to a list of bosses in Final Fantasy III or of enemies in God of War. -- (talk) 07:00, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

Because the author is English?[edit]

"The best-known European species, Myrmeleon formicarius, adults of which may be found in the late summer, occurs in many countries on the European continent, though like the rest of this group it is not indigenous in England. Strictly speaking, however, the term antlion applies to the larval form, which has been known scientifically for over two hundred years, on account of its peculiar and forbidding appearance and its skilful and unusual (though not unique) manner of entrapping prey by means of a pitfall."

Sorry, why is it significant that they are not indigenous in England? Fearwig 05:58, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Okay, there's a link at the bottom indicating that there is some variety of ant lion in Britain--however, this does not come forth in the beginning of the article. It seems to me as though some editing has taken that bit out, leaving us with a paragraph more confusing and less informative. Fearwig 06:03, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
The para definetly seemed to be the product of an edit conflict. Didnt make sense to the flow. I've moved it up a bit. Kept the important comment about the larve refered to as antlion, but left out the english species. Couldnt find a place in the article for it. It seemed like a hanging piece of information. Maybe someone can add a section called "common species" or something --Viren 11:42, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Unusual anatomical features[edit]

According to "ant lion". Insects on the coast. National Trust. 2006.  :

Unusually the ant lion digests it food so well that almost no solid waste is generated, so there is no need for an anus.

Should this be mentioned here? Or is this not specific to this one family? Uncle G 14:25, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

Size of pit traps[edit]

"An average-sized larva digs a pit about 2 inches deep and 3 inches wide at the edge."

As someone whos been a regular visitor to a game reserve, ive seen these pits many,many times. No ways have i ever seen pits this big!! (then again, as a non american, i dont use the imperial system.) Maybe american antlions dig that deep, but ive rarely seen traps approach that size. Can someone clarify this with regard to antlions from the rest of the world?

Isn't it also better to give both imperial & metric measurements, to leave no room for confusion? (I noticed the first para gives wingspan lengths in cm. Not very encyclopedic, IMHO.)

oops,forgot to sign! 10:45, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

In the sandy soil of the U.S. Deep South, I have seen pits about 2 1/2 inches across, and maybe 1 3/4 in. in depth.

They appear in quantity wherever conditions are right around here, and I've also never seen them this size. Maybe it's because they're usually closer together than that, so they couldn't make them that big if they tried. (I'm in North Carolina.)

The size of the pit has less to do with the antlion, and more to do with the soil it is found in. The depth and diameter of the crater are dependent on each other and the angle of repose of the soil. A hole 2" deep and 3" wide would give you an angle of repose around 33 degrees, typical for fine grained aggregrate. However, those dimensions seem scaled up to me as well. I've never seen a hole that was more than an inch deep, if that. The ratio makes sense, but it seems like it would be more realisitic if it was 2 cm by 3 cm. 17:32, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
Personally I have never seen ant-lions digging in the way described in the article. Making a circular groove? Spinning round like a top? Never. How would that even establish a decent size for the pit? What purpose does the groove serve? Always, in Europe and the US, I have seen them digging backwards into the sand or dust, then flicking sand up and out from hiding, just the same way they do to catch something, in order to clear out the dent: dig down, flick up to clear the funnel, and repeat. This way they need only a few very simply instincts to build the perfect pit: find sand or dust, then borrow backwards if uncovered; flick upwards if face gets covered; rest once flicking seems to return the same amount of sand that you flicked up. Ant-lions in Texas that I have seen seem to be smaller than in Greece, and dig proportionally smaller pits, since the limit to the pit depth is how far they can flick the sand upwards. In Greece, this is up to about 2cm in diameter; in Texas, perhaps half that. But, all this is OR. The article seems wrong, but I can't correct it from OR :( (talk) 02:13, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
I have observed antlions digging and maintaining pits as large as 2 inches deep and 3 inches across in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Africa. Of course these are approaching the larger limit - most are smaller. Ptilinopus (talk) 13:50, 28 April 2015 (UTC)


I have a video of an antlion digging a pit. It's not great quality, but it's good enough. Is there any interest in it? I can't upload mpgs, so it would need to be linked somehow. Any recommendations on how to do this? Email me at (remove qs to despammify). -- Rei 04:21, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

Wrong title[edit]

"Antlion" is not the standard spelling. It is "ant lion". Onelook dictionary search shows few hits for "antlion", but many for "ant lion". The OED has "ant-lion", in keeping with British hyphenated style, but not "antlion". --Milkbreath 14:43, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

"Only in America". Google hits for "antlion" are about 3 times as many as for "ant lion". Two-words is American English, one-word or hyphenated is Commonwealth English (this is a general rule-of-thumb for animal names). Dysmorodrepanis (talk) 11:26, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Adding the alternative spellings ant-lion and ant lion up top, for obvious reasons. (talk) 16:32, 15 September 2013 (UTC)


The image currently up top in the infobox (Image:Antlion.jpg) is a beautiful photo, and wonderfully illustrates the adult ant lion's ability to blend in with its surroundings. Unfortunately, at reduced size, it's really hard to tell what I'm looking at. I suggest this one (Image:Ameisenjungfer.jpg) instead, with more contrast. --Reuben 19:07, 14 November 2007 (UTC)


I don't think I'm alone when I look at the antlion and wonder how bad it could hurt me. Let's face it, it's something of an evil looking insect with very large jaws (the larval form, anyway). do they bite humans? do they defend their holes or themselves from humans? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:32, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

I used to play with them when I was a little kid. I would throw small insects into the pit and watch the antlion gobble them up. I never got hurt. - Buddy.

I scooped them (and sand) into my palm scores of times as a child, then watched them reverse, trying to burrow. Doodlebugs may look fierce, but their jaws are designed for trapping, not biting, and the pincers are extremely weak; even with a kid's skin, I could barely feel the 'bite.'

once I tried to see what an ant lion looked like i dug up one of their pits. i found the same creature as the one it the foto. wile geting al of the dirt out of the shovel i had to push it around so not to acedintaly throw it out and it didn't bite me. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:46, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

distribution of antlion[edit]

where is antlion is from ? we can find antlion in the dry places and under the shelterand from wind and rain and also in america and africa. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:30, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Link to look up cultural references[edit]

See here. Note that references at the bottom might be better to check and use....Casliber (talk · contribs) 08:38, 2 September 2012 (UTC)

Mikkos Phylogeny archive.[edit]

Given that the archive is simply a single persons personal attempt to create phylogeny's, I dont think it qualifies as a reliable source, especially given the the note for it is to "see references there". If there is non-outdated information there, the sources should be used to update the page here, and the Mikkos link be removed fully.--Kevmin § 15:32, 24 February 2016 (UTC)

Love the full stop in the header. Yes, 8 years was a long time for a personal website ref to languish in the article; I've replaced it now with the Crato Formation book. Chiswick Chap (talk) 15:48, 24 February 2016 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Antlion/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Sainsf (talk · contribs) 06:13, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

Hi! Will review this. Sainsf <^>Feel at home 06:13, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

Many thanks for taking this on. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:23, 28 March 2016 (UTC)


  • whose scientific name means "our European lion" Is it necessary to mention this in the lead?
Removed. Chiswick Chap (talk) 15:34, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
  • The "ferocious" nature of the larvae should be stated a bit more explicitly earlier in the lead. Is it do with predation by the larvae?
It now says "fiercely predatory". Chiswick Chap (talk) 15:34, 28 March 2016 (UTC)


 Done Sainsf <^>Feel at home 13:41, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

  • Abdomen and thorax are each linked twice.
Fixed. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:28, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
  • apical veins enclose regular oblong spaces I think apical, oblong and veins need explanations or links.
Removed. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 13:16, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
  • with the very long hypostigmatic cell (behind the fusion point of Sc and R1) Difficult to understand. Can this be simpler?
Removed. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 13:16, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Adult antlions are rarely seen by day, typically being active at dusk and after dark I think you should first state when they are active, followed by when they are not. Like "they are typically nocturnal, and rarely seen by the day".
Done. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:28, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
  • unique structure known as a "pilula axillaris" Can we add something more on this?
Explained. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 13:16, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Link or explain "ventral", "process", "enzyme", "metabolic".
Done. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 13:16, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
  • "Oviposition" is explained under life-cycle but as it is first mentioned here the description should be shifted to this section. Same for "cocoon" and "pupal" (linked later as "pupate")
Done, if I have understood you correctly. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 13:28, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
  • First mention of "larva" in the main text should be linked.
Done. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:28, 28 March 2016 (UTC)


 Done Sainsf <^>Feel at home 09:47, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

  • There are about 2000 species "2,000" as in the lead
Done. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:23, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Dune and scrub may be linked
Done. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:23, 28 March 2016 (UTC)


 Done Sainsf <^>Feel at home 09:46, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

  • members of the Myrmeleontidae family We have not yet discussed the taxonomy in the main text. Should we say ", to which the antlions belong"?
Done. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:32, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
  • "Abdomen is a duplink
Removed. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:32, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
  • The section is named "Life-cycle" but in places you say "lifecycle".
Fixed. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:32, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Link or explain posterior.
Said rear. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:32, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Don't link larva here, link it at first mention, under Description.
Done. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:32, 28 March 2016 (UTC)


 Done Sainsf <^>Feel at home 09:47, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

  • detritus in a hole What is that?
Linked to Wiktionary. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:39, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
  • venom and enzymes , waves detected by receptors Links?
  • hind two thoracic segments You mean "two hind thoracic segments"?
Fixed. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:39, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
  • the antlion larva starts to crawl backwards, using its abdomen as a plough to shovel up the soil. Place a citation at the end of this.
That account is cited to Coelho already. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:39, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
  • "ants" is linked twice.
Fixed. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:39, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
  • "arthropods" is linked twice in this section, both links are duplicate
Fixed. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:39, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
  • the tiny larva specializes in very small insects I think we were using British English?
Done. But we Brits often use -ize actually. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:39, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Australian horsefly Scaptia muscula Write " Australian horsefly (Scaptia muscula)" Same for chalcid wasp.
Done. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:40, 28 March 2016 (UTC)


 Done Sainsf <^>Feel at home 09:47, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

  • The rest of the article looks good. Two suggestions:
  • Should Etymology not be the first section as is usual in articles?
Moved. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:25, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
  • What is a gallery doing under Etymology?
It isn't any more! Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:25, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

That should be all. Great job, both! Sainsf <^>Feel at home 08:18, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

Thanks, both of you have been so quick! I am pleased to promote this splendid article. Good luck! Sainsf <^>Feel at home 15:42, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

Thanks for the efficient review, Sainsf. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 17:52, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified one external link on Antlion. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, you may follow the instructions on the template below to fix any issues with the URLs.

You may set the |checked=, on this template, to true or failed to let other editors know you reviewed the change. If you find any errors, please use the tools below to fix them or call an editor by setting |needhelp= to your help request.

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

If you are unable to use these tools, you may set |needhelp=<your help request> on this template to request help from an experienced user. Please include details about your problem, to help other editors.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 10:53, 7 July 2017 (UTC)