Banyutus lethalis

View the above photo record (by Gary Brown) in LacewingMAP here.

Banyutus lethalis 

(Walker, 1853)


Size: Small to medium sized (Wingspan around 58mm)

Banyutus lethalis is mimicked by the gregarious African antlion, Hagenomyia tristis and the two bear a close resemblance. B. lethalis has longer antennae and clear wings with prominent black veining and a bicoloured pterostigma. H. tristis has shorter antennae, slightly irridescent wings with inconspicuous black veins and has smaller white pterostigmas.

Banyutus lethalis – Mtubatuba, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Toy Bodbijl
Banyutus lethalis – Sango, Zimbabwe
Photo by
Ian Riddell

Larvae: The larvae have dark, blackish colouration.


Banyutus lethalis inhabits savanna woodland and forest regions. Adults are often found among tall grass in the dappled light beneath trees.

Habitat – Ndumo Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Ryan Tippett


The adults are nocturnal and spend the day resting among tall grass. They are frequently attracted to light. Banyutus lethalis is gregarious and often flies in mixed swarms with Hagenomyia tristis, which it closely resembles – in a mimicry complex.

The black larvae live freely in fine, shallow sand and often prey on other antlion larvae.

In South Africa adults are on the wing from September to May, although it is most commonly recorded from November to March.

Banyutus lethalis is often gregarious – Hectorspruit, Mpumalanga
Photo by Gert Bensch

Status and Distribution

B. lethalis is common and has a very wide distribution in eastern South Africa, extending northwards into Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, DRC.

Distribution of Banyutus lethalis. Taken from the LacewingMAP database, July 2022.


Order: Neuroptera Family: Myrmeleontidae Subfamily: Myrmeleontinae Tribe: Nemoleontini Genus: Banyutus Species: lethalis

Banyutus lethalis – Near Thabazimbi, North-West Province.
Photo by Andre Harmse

Further Resources

Virtual Museum (LacewingMAP > Search VM > By Scientific or Common Name)


The use of photographs by Andre Harmse, Chris Meyer, Gert Bensch, Gary Brown, Ian Riddell and Toy Bodbijl is acknowledged. This species text has benefited enormously from comments made by Mervyn Mansell on records he has identified in LacewingMAP. We acknowledge his important contribution.

Recommended citation format for this species text:

Tippett RM 2022. Banyutus lethalis. Biodiversity and Development Institute, Cape Town.
Available online at

Banyutus lethalis – Ndola, Zambia
Photo by Chris Meyer
Ryan Tippett
Ryan Tippett
Ryan is an enthusiastic contributor to Citizen Science and has added many important and interesting records of fauna and flora. He has been a member of the Virtual Museum since 2014 and has currently submitted over 12,000 records. He is on the expert identification panel for the OdonataMAP project. Ryan is a well-qualified and experienced Field Guide, and Guide Training Instructor. He has spent the last 18 years in the guiding and tourism industries. Ryan loves imparting his passion and knowledge onto others, and it is this that drew him into guide training in particular. Something that he finds incredibly rewarding is seeing how people he's had the privilege of teaching have developed and gone on to greater things. His interests are diverse and include Dragonflies, Birding, Arachnids, Amphibians, wild flowers and succulents, free diving and experiencing big game on foot. With this range of interests, there is always likely be something special just around the corner!