I know, I know, but the antlion is not the lion of ants; that would be the flea circus staple Teddy the Ant with a Mane. The antlion is named so because – at least as a larva – it loves to eat ants.

Special powers

It does so by digging a pit in sandy ground, burrowing in so only its monstrous jaws are exposed. There it waits with a sniper’s patience for an unsuspecting ant to tumble into its sinister trap, at which point it can inject venom into its victim so that it won’t be able to struggle while the antlion empties it of everything within its exoskeleton. It is sometimes known as the doodlebug.

antlion larva

So cute.

As an adult, the antlion changes drastically. It becomes much more like a damselfly. Instead of hiding itself in sandy deathtraps, it flies through the air leaving skywriting messages like “I regret nothing,” “They all deserved to die,” and “Break free from old wireless rules with T-Mobile.”[1]


The antlion larva has no anus. It stores up all the waste of its whole childhood – which, again, consists of all the guts of every ant that has ever stepped too close. What sinister purpose it’s saving it for I hope we never have cause to learn.

Also, its dramatic evolution into its final form can be interrupted against its will with a mere press of the B button.

antlion all grown up

ANTLION learned FLY!

Number of legs


Number of anuses (in larval form)


Do I have a diagram of it using its deathtrap?

like so


What if it fought a bear?

The antlion is fearsome, but there’s a drastic weight class difference here that puts it at a serious disadvantage.

Is it noble?


Final rating

I know we all love sandy pits. But trust me, you don’t want to find yourself sliding down one into the waiting jaws of the young antlion. Nor do you want to find yourself the subject of a scathing message in the clouds by the adult antlion’s hand.[2] That’s why you should always thoroughly vet any unfamiliar sand pit before you dive into it for the first time.

the more you know







[1]You too can hire out its services for the right fee as long as you’re cool with being associated with an gleefully unrepentant ant-murderer.

[2]Not an actual hand.

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One thought on “Antlion

  1. […] catfish is, like the antlion or flycatcher or woodpecker or elephant seal, named after its preferred prey. There is nothing the […]

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