Centroclisis brachygaster

View the above photo record (by Ryan Tippett) in LacewingMAP here.

Centroclisis brachygaster

 (Rambur, 1842)


Size: Large sized (Wingspan around 100mm)

The adults are pale grey hirsute antlions with stout bodies. The wings are relatively short and broad with rounded tips. This species can be recognised by the combination of the red abdomen and the black line that runs through the middle of each fore-wing.

Note that this genus is taxonomically complex and requires some revision.

Centroclisis brachygaster – Near Hluhluwe, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Ryan Tippett

Larvae: Not much is known about the larvae of this species, although it is likely to resemble the larvae of other Centroclisis spp.

Centroclisis larvae are large and dark coloured. They have relatively short yet robust jaws.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Centroclisis-sp.-700x468.jpg
Centroclisis sp. Larvae  – Ponta du ouro, Mozambique
Photo by Len de Beer


Centroclisis brachygaster occupies a wide range of woodland habitats, mostly in warm savanna regions.

Habitat – Near Hluhluwe, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Ryan Tippett


Adults are sluggish and normally rest against tree bark where they are very well camouflaged. They are commonly known as ‘Bark Antlions’.

Centroclisis brachygaster is readily attracted to light. Adults are recorded during Summer from October to February.

Centroclisis brachygaster – Near Hluhluwe, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Ryan Tippett

As in other Centroclis species, the large, dark larvae are voracious predators, which inhabit loose sand. They come to the surface at night to lie in wait for prey. They ambush their prey and do not construct pit-fall traps.

Status and Distribution

This species is very widespread in southern and central Africa, from South Africa to DRC and including all of the southern African countries.

Centroclisis brachygaster is fairly common and widespread in South Africa.

Distribution of Centroclisis brachygaster. Taken from the LacewingMAP database, July 2022.


Order: Neuroptera Family: Myrmeleontidae  Genus: Centroclisis Species: brachygaster

Centroclisis brachygaster – Near Hluhluwe, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Ryan Tippett

Further Resources

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


The use of photographs by Len de Beer 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. Centroclisis brachygaster. Biodiversity and Development Institute, Cape Town.
Available online at http://thebdi.org/2022/10/21/centroclisis-brachygaster/

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!