Quick ID Antlions

Quick ID
Antlions

Identification:
Antlions have long slender, transparent, net-like wings. Most of the antlions are identified by the spots or patterns in their wings.
Antenna are widened or clubbed at their tips and tips are usually curved.
Bodies are quite long, the male’s longer than the female’s, except for the Spot-winged Dendroleon obsoletus where length is the same in both male and female.
They are poor flyers. Attracted to lights at night.

Six species in Ontario:
Spot-winged Dendroleon obsoletus (southern Ontario)
Common Myrmeleon immaculatus (southern Ontario)
Clouded Brachynemurus nebulosus (southern Ontario)
Snap-trap Brachynemurus abdominalis (southern Ontario)
Brachynemurus longicaudus (northern – Georgian Bay)
Brachynemurus signatus (1992 & 1996 at Pinery Prov. Park, Grand Bend)

Similar Species:
May be mistaken for Damselflies and Dragonflies, but Damsels and Dragons have very short, hair-like antenna. Antlions have long, thick antenna; wider at tips (clubbed).

Flight Time: Generally June to August.

Life Cycle: Females lay their eggs on the ground, except for the Spot-winged Dendroleon obsoletus, which lays its eggs in tree holes. Larva are predators and feed on smaller insects. Pupae or cocoons are formed in soil (or tree holes) using silken threads and debris. Only one generation per year.

Quick ID:
Spot-winged Dendroleon obsoletus
Unmistakable – large dark, somewhat circular spots and dashes on wings. Legs entirely black.

Common Myrmeleon immaculatus
Outer edge of wings (costa) has rows of alternate light and dark dashes along wing edges but no spots like the Clouded Brachynemurus nebulosus. Legs: thighs (femora) yellowish; shins (tibiae) dark with yellow patches, feet dark.

Clouded Brachynemurus nebulosus
Outer edge of wings (costa) have one row of alternate light and dark dashes, but the white extends inward along cross-veins, forming an inverted T-shape and sometimes a U-shape. Wings also have vague dark spots and dashes with some white throughout, absent on the Common Myrmeleon immaculatus. Legs mostly brown with white hair fringe.

Snap-trap Brachynemurus abdominalis

Snap-trap Antlion Brachynemurus abdominalis female wing close-up
Close-up of female wing Snap-trap Antlion Brachynemurus abdominalis showing 1st row with small black spots and row above with larger black spots.


Outer edge of wings (costa) have two rows of dark spots – 1st row has small dark spots; row above has large dark spots. Male wings can be the same as the female or have the wings entirely yellowish with thick yellowish-green veins and no other marks. Legs yellow, feet striped.

Brachynemurus longicaudus (Georgian Bay)
Outer edge of wings (costa) has a series of small evenly spaced, black dots in rows – all dots the same size. Also have large spots randomly placed on wings. Male abdomen twice as long as wings. Legs yellow with tiny black dots.

Brachynemurus signatus (Pinery Prov. Park)
Wings have no marks. Veins brown and yellow, but no thick yellow veins like male Snap-trap Brachynemurus abdominalis. Legs mixed dark and light.

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