Antlion lacewing








The adult of the ‘antlion’ is very similar to the damsel fly in colour and shape, but the lacewing has very dark, obvious antennae and their wing patterns differ. There are around 250 species of these lacewings. This lacewing is not a very good flyer. Commonly called an antlion lacewing although it is the larvae that is the antlion. The larvae can grow to 10 mm and are a brownish colour which matches the sand they hide in. I don’t know if they are a different colour in other sands. They create funnels in fine sand that small insects fall into and can’t climb back out of. The barrel-shaped antlion, with its immense jaws, waits just below the surface.

Adult size: up to 40 mm

Out and about

These lacewings are most common in arid and semiarid regions. As they can remain in the larval form for a long time I would expect them to be around all year. Adults will only be seen in the evenings. Eggs can be found summer to early autumn.

Reproduction and Life cycle

The female lays single eggs in the sandy soil. The antlion pupates in the soil and emerges as an adult. It can take a long time for the larvae to become an adult as its development depends entirely on its food supply. They can live for months without food and this sometimes means it could be anything up to several years before pupation. The larvae go through a number of instars before pupating. The larvae pupate in a spherical cocoon which combines its silken thread with sand and may be found buried a few centimetres in the soil.

To deter

To control

Plants to repel

Plants to attract

Alyssum / Angelica / Caraway / Carrot / Coriander / Daisy family (Coreopsis) / Dill / Fennel / Heather / Oleander / Queen Anne’s lace / Red and white cosmos (Bipinnatus) / Tansy / Yellow yarrow


Why they are Beneficial
I’m not sure whether the adult is predatory but it would probably still feed on nectar and pollen. The larvae will eat practically whatever falls into its pit, which is primarily ants (hence their name). They inject venom into their prey and suck up the body fluids. They live in dry, protected spots such as under our carport.