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Nearctic Region

Over 100 species of antlions (in 19+ genera) live in the Nearctic Region, primarily in Mexico, the southwestern U.S., and Florida. With 23 species, Florida has the greatest antlion diversity of all U.S. states east of the Mississippi River. There are seven known species in Canada.

Zoogeographic locator

Notable species

Brachynemurus abdominalis (Say)
(Say's antlion)
Eastern USA and the Great Lakes region. Adults are brownish gray to gray with a darker body.

Brachynemurus ferox (Walker)
California, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Wyoming.

Brachynemurus ferox, larva and adult.

© 1997 Luther G. Brossa. Used with permission.

Brachynemurus nebulosus (Olivier)
Wisconsin, New York, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, Minnesota, Nebraska.

Dendroleon obsoletus (Say)
(Spotted-wing antlion)
Common in North America. Adult has dark spots, blotches and bars on the wings. The front of the body is brown, abdomen is dark brown.

Adult Spotted-wing Antlion

Glenurus gratus (Say)
Found in Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee, and other eastern states. Larvae live in dry tree holes and gopher tortoise burrows.

Glenurus gratus
Photo taken in Panama City, Florida.

© 2001 May Lenzer. Used with permission.

Myrmeleon immaculatus De Geer
(Common antlion)
Common in North America. The larvae of genus Myrmeleon are the only antlions in the U.S. that create the famous pit-fall traps. The adult is mostly dark gray, marked with dark brown and orange. Four orange spots on the thorax; the abdomen is banded in gray and brown. The wing membrane is unspotted, but the cross veins are alternately colored brown and gray.

Representative genera

Abatoleon sp.
The most widespread of New World Myrmecaelurini, with 8 species distributed from southern Texas to Argentina.

Brachynemurus sp.
Over 21 species distributed throughout the USA to southern Mexico.

Dejuna sp.
Five species distributed from northern Mexico to Costa Rica.

Dendroleon sp.
14 species worldwide: two in North America; four in Australia; one in Europe; one in Madagascar; two in Japan; four in the Oriental Region.

Eremoleon sp.
18 species from the desert southwest USA through the American tropics.

Glenurus sp.
Eight species distributed throughout the New World.

Myrmeleon sp.
The largest genus of antlions with 158 described species. Cosmopolitan in distribution, although poorly represented in southern South America. The only antlion genus in the U.S. that creates pit-fall traps.

Psammoleon sp.
21 species throughout the desert southwest U.S.A. south throughout tropical America.

Scotoleon sp.
The most specious genus of New World Myrmecaelurini: 23 species distributed from northwestern and southwestern USA, south to northern Mexico.

Vella sp.
Seven species found in southwestern USA; Mexico; and Central and South America.


Arnett, Jr., Ross H. 1985. American Insects: A handbook of the insects of America north of Mexico. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co.

Dunn, Gary A. 1996. Insects of the Great Lakes Region. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Grzimek, Bernard. 1979. Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co.

Penny, Norman D. 1997. Myrmeleontidae Collection Holdings. Internet website. California Academy of Sciences, Department of Entomology. Web page accessed 1997:

Stange, Lionel. 2000. "A Checklist and Bibliography of the Megaloptera and Neuroptera of Florida." Published by The Museum of Entomology (Florida State Collection of Arthropods, Gainesville, Florida). Web page accessed 5 February, 2005:

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