Cueta trivirgata

View the above photo record (by Zenobia van Dyk) in LacewingMAP here.

Myrmeleontidae (Antlions)

Cueta trivirgata

(Gerstaecker, 1885)


Size: Small (Wingspan around 58mm)

Most Cueta species are flesh-coloured antlions with dark brown patterning and stripes on the abdomen and thorax. The wings are clear with numerous, small dark brown speckles or dark veins. Males have more elongate abdomens than females.

Cueta trivirgata is distinguished by its abdomen pattern and feint dark speckling in the wings as well as its genitalic features.

There are several other similar looking species in the genus.

Larvae: The larvae are pinkish and largely indistinguishable from those of other Cueta species.

Cueta trivirgata (female) – Near Carnarvon, Northern Cape
Photo by Ryan Tippett
Cueta trivirgata (male) – Near Carnarvon, Northern Cape
Photo by Ryan Tippett


Inhabits a range of habitats from arid Karoo shrublands to dry savanna and grasslands.

Habitat – Karoo-Gariep Nature Reserve, Northern Cape
Photo by Ryan Tippett


Adults are nocturnal and they are regularly attracted to lights. They are active throughout Summer and have been recorded from October to April.

The larvae are typical pit-builders and often construct pits in completely exposed situations, and are able to tolerate fairly high temperatures.

Cueta trivirgata – Karoo National Park, Western Cape
Photo by Sharon Stanton

Status and Distribution

Cueta trivirgata is Common and widespread across most of southern Africa. In South Africa it has been recorded from all nine provinces.

Distribution of Cueta trivirgata. Taken from the LacewingMAP database, November 2022.


Order: Neuroptera Family: Myrmeleontidae Subfamily: Myrmeleontinae Tribe: Nesoleontini Genus: Cueta Species: trivirgata

Cueta trivirgata – Near Carnarvon, Northern Cape
Photo by Ryan Tippett

Further Resources

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


The use of photographs by John Wilkinson, Sharon Stanton and Zenobia van Dyk 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. Cueta trivirgata. Biodiversity and Development Institute, Cape Town.
Available online at

Cueta trivirgata – Near Tshipise, Limpopo
Photo by John Wilkinson
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!