What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

Logo: What Bug Is That? Logo: Taxonomy Research & Information Network



Little is known of the biology of most forms. Larvae are ground dwelling or arboreal and it seems that eggs are laid singly, sometimes being scattered in dry soil or sand. Many larvae are subterranean. Some construct conical pits as traps for prey, and lie buried at the bottom with just the open jaws protruding. Other species burrow freely in sand, and move around under the sand or on the surface at night. Still others appear to live on trees, and often closely resemble bark. Larvae often occur under overhangs of rock or under raised logs where they are protected from rain. Some species are univoltine but many have a life cycle substantially exceeding a year, and Stilbopteryx in captivity took six years from egg to adult (McFarland 1968).


Myrmeleontidae (antlions) are by far the dominant family of lacewings in Australia (New 1985a-c), and globally diverse with about 2000 known species. Adults are predominantly medium to large (fore wing 10-72 mm), with long wings which are lightly patterned in most species and extensively marked in some. The abdomen is usually long and slender, but is slightly expanded medially in some males, and the folded wings often extend well beyond its apex. Antennae are usually short, occasionally up to half fore wing length, and thickened apically; rarely ( Ceratoleon brevicornis ) very short and subfusiform. Tibial spurs may be present or absent, perhaps reflecting the kind of prey taken. In some American antlions, aphid-feeders lack spurs but congeneric species taking larger prey tend to have large spurs. Claws are simple or with subapical teeth. Adults are usually predatory, although some eat pollen.


The dominant antlions in Africa, the brightly coloured, diurnal Palparinae, are absent from Australia.

  • Myrmeleontidae larvae

  • Heoclisis sp.

  • Froggattisca testaceum

  • Glenoleon meteoricus

  • Myrmeleon acer

  • Myrmeleontidae; larvae

  • Myrmeleontidae