Bankisus oculatus

View the above photo record (by Norman Barrett) in LacewingMAP here.

Myrmeleontidae (Antlions)

Bankisus oculatus

Navás, 1912


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

Beautiful and delicate antlions with intricate wing markings. It has a distinctive dark and pale banded abdomen. Similar in appearance to the various species of Cymothales.

Bankisus oculatus – Chongwe, Lusaka Province, Zambia
Photo by Norman Barrett
Bankisus oculatus – Chongwe, Lusaka Province, Zambia
Photo by Norman Barrett


Bankisus oculatus inhabits savanna woodlands.


It normally rests well camouflaged among grass or other vegetation. Adults are occasionally attracted to lights and are recorded from October to April.

The larvae live well concealed under dust in small recesses on sheltered rock ledges. They are typical “sit and wait” predators, relying on their camouflage to escape predation, as well as being concealed from potential prey.

Bankisus oculatus – Near Pretoria, Gauteng
Photo by Stephen Ball

Status and Distribution

Bankisus oculatus is is rather uncommon, but widespread in the northern parts of SA, extending into Zimbabwe.

Distribution of Bankisus oculatus. Taken from the LacewingMAP database, November 2022.


Order: Neuroptera Family: Myrmeleontidae  Subfamily: Dendroleontinae Tribe: Dendroleontini Genus: Bankisus  Species: oculatus

Bankisus oculatus – Makalali Nature Reserve, Limpopo
Photo by Vaughan Jessnitz

Further Resources

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


The use of photographs by AC. Roberts, Norman Barrett, Stephen Ball and Vaughan Jessnitz 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. Bankisus oculatus. Biodiversity and Development Institute, Cape Town.
Available online at

Bankisus oculatus – Near Brits, North-West Province
Photo by AC. Roberts
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!