Pleasing Antlion

Photo of an adult antlion with distinctively marked black and pink wings
Scientific Name
Glenurus gratus
Myrmeleontidae (antlions) in the order Neuroptera (antlions, lacewings, and allies)

The antlion known to science as Glenurus gratus has no common name. Its scientific name means "pleasing," "agreeable," or "grateful," and any of those terms could describe its very large, strikingly attractive wings, which are also very distinctive. Learn more about this and other antlions (family Myrmeleontidae) on their family page.


Adult length: body to about 1½ inches; head to wingtips about 2 inches; wingspan about 4 inches.

Adults prey on aphids and caterpillars. The larvae, which live at the bottom of hollow tree trunks, eat insects in that unique microhabitat: ants, beetle larvae, and termites.

Life Cycle

This and other antlions are the insects whose larvae are the "doodlebugs" that typically live in the bottom of cone-shaped depressions in sand or loose dirt. The doodlebugs of this species, however, live in the debris that accumulates in the hollows of trees, amid sawdust (decaying wood particles), squirrel droppings, and other materials. Termites, ants, and beetle grubs are their prey.

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About Land Invertebrates in Missouri
Invertebrates are animals without backbones, including earthworms, slugs, snails, and arthropods. Arthropods—invertebrates with “jointed legs” — are a group of invertebrates that includes crayfish, shrimp, millipedes, centipedes, mites, spiders, and insects. There may be as many as 10 million species of insects alive on earth today, and they probably constitute more than 90 percent all animal species.