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Antlion: G. gratus (Glenarus gratus)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Antlion: G. gratus



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Image Credit: Lisa S. from Houston, TX
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Image Credit: Suzanne F. from FL
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This large and distinctively patterned Antlion is commonly spotted in Florida where it is found inside tree holes as well as gopher tortoise burrows.



Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Antlions get their name from the lion-sized appetites of their larvae. Known as Doodlebugs, the small, young larvae create trenches in soft sand or soil as they walk in random directions, often resembling doodles drawn by small children. The Doodlebugs of this species have large pincers with two small teeth on each one. The modified mouthparts at the head form sucking tubes that the larva uses to drain internal organs from its favorite meal: ants. Doodlebugs dig out shallow pits in the sand or soft soil and sit inside them. When ants walk too close to the edges of the pit, the loose sand/soil falls down from under them and they slip into the waiting jaws of the Doodlebug.

The winged adults may be mistaken for a damselfly at first. A quick check for the small clubs at the tips of the antennae can confirm the insect is an Antlion. The black and white marble pattern at the tips of all four wings is bold and unmistakable for this species. They are attracted to lights at night, but are usually seen in or around the tree holes they live in. They have also been found inside the abandoned ground nests of the threatened gopher tortoise.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Patterned insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Neuroptera
        Family: Myrmeleontidae
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          Genus: Glenarus
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            Species: gratus
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Glenarus gratus
Other Name(s): Picture-winged Antlion
Category: Antlion or Lacewing
Size (Adult; Length): 35mm to 52mm (1.37" to 2.04")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black, white
Descriptors: long, wings, markings, tips, spots, dots, flying, tracks, doodlebug
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 35mm (1.4in) and 52mm (2.0in)
Lo: 35mm
Md: 43.5mm
Hi: 52mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
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Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Antlion: G. gratus may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Antlion: G. gratus. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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