Cymothales poultoni

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

Cymothales poultoni

(Navás, 1913)


Size: Small-Medium sized (Wingspan around 56mm)

Delicate and exquisite antlions with long, slender legs. The wings are iridescent with intricate brown markings. The hind wings end in elegant pointed tips. Cymothales poultoni is easily identified by its long antennae (other Cymothales antlions have noticeably shorter antennae) and pale prothorax.

Cymothales poultoni – Lusaka Province, Zambia
Photo by Norman Barrett
Cymothales poultoni – Near Blantyre, Malawi
Photo by Gary Brown

Larvae: The larvae of Cymothales poultoni are unknown.


Cymothales poultoni inhabits warm savanna regions in south-central Africa.


It normally rests well camouflaged among grass or other vegetation. Adults are readily attracted to lights and are on the wing during late Summer from January to May.

The life history of the larval stage is unknown, but other species of Cymothales live in detritus in tree holes or on rock ledges. This species is likely to do the same.

Cymothales poultoni – Lusaka Province, Zambia
Photo by Norman Barrett

Status and Distribution

Cymothales poultoni is very widespread in southern and central Africa, recorded from DRC, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In South Africa it is known from the Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West provinces.

Although widespread, Cymothales poultoni is very uncommon.

Distribution of Cymothales poultoni. Taken from the LacewingMAP database, October 2022.


Order: Neuroptera Family: Myrmeleontidae  Subfamily: Dendroleontinae Tribe: Dendroleontini Genus: Cymothales  Species: poultoni

Cymothales poultoni – Lusaka Province, Zambia
Photo by Norman Barrett

Further Resources

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


The use of photographs by Gary Brown and Norman Barrett 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. Cymothales poultoni. Biodiversity and Development Institute, Cape Town.
Available online at

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!