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Spotted-Winged Antlion (Dendroleon obsoletus)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Spotted-Winged Antlion.

 Updated: 8/23/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




Spotted-winged Antlions have longer wings than bodies and look nothing like their more famous, artistic offspring.



Antlions are not damselflies nor dragonflies though some think they resemble them. Antlions are their own family of insects. The Spotted-winged Antlion's wings have blackish-brown spots and circular markings on them. Wings widen from the body, but at the end of the abdomen, they begin to taper to a soft point. The antennae have small balls, or clubs at the tips, which damselflies and dragonflies do not have. Adults do not feed often and may drink nectar or eat insects.

The real star of the family are the offspring. Larval Antlions are called "Doodlebugs" thanks to the labyrinth of lines they leave in the soft soil or sand they wander through. Their small round bodies have large pincers and strong mouthparts. Doodlebugs dig little cone-shaped pits into the soil and sit in the narrow bottom. They wait for an ant to pass too close to the edge where the loose soil gives way and it falls in. Once in the pit, the Doodlebug uses its mouthparts to kill the ant and eat its internal organs. Doodlebugs have voracious appetites, like those of a lion. This reputation led to its common name.

Look for Spotted-winged Antlion adults on plants and walls. Survey sandy, loose soil for the random lines drawn in it to find its larvae.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Neuroptera
        Family: Myrmeleontidae
          Genus: Dendroleon
            Species: obsoletus
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Dendroleon obsoletus
Category: Antlion or Lacewing
Size (Adult; Length): 25mm to 40mm (0.98in to 1.56in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black, brown
Descriptors: long, spots, blotchy, marks, wings, flying
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
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Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
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Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.