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Imagecat This article is about the species. For the most common subspecies, see Antlion Soldier.

"He won't last five minutes on foot. It's spawning season for the Antlions!"

The Antlion is a large, voracious insectoid species of several differing castes, with a hierarchy, appearance, and physiology very similar to that of ants and termites.


Antlions are social creatures living in large underground colonies. They are blind and use pheromones and vibrations to identify other living beings. They come in several types with differing physiologies. Five have been showcased so far:

Behavior and skills[]


An Antlion nest, with an antlion comb in the backround.

Antlions mostly live underground where they estabilish their nests. Workers use their acidic spit to carve out rocks in order to create tunnels for the nest. These tunnels can prove to be extensive and span over a huge area underground into intricate labyrinths. These tunnels can be quite large in order to accomodate the movement of all Antlion variants from the Soldier to the Guardian. Along the tunnels, smaller crevices can sometimes be found which are often inhabited by Antlion Grubs or sometimes other opportunistic species such as headcrabs.

It is not clear how Antlions breed; one resistance member is heard referring to a "spawning season" at the beginning of the Highway 17 chapter, but whether Antlions mate separately, have a queen/drone system or practice something completely alien to Earth sensibilities is not known. What is known is that they do lay eggs, which are normally kept in the nectarium or the center of the nest. The Guardian is charged with protecting these eggs, and patrols this nursery and the surrounding areas. If a an intruder is detected, it will zealously pursue the perceived threat to the eggs until they are eliminated.

Like insects, Antlions begin life as larvae. These larvae are contained in blue honeycombs similar to those of bees and produce a light blue extract which is highly prized by the Vortigaunts for its ability to enhance their connection to the Vortessence. Eventually, these larvae grow into large grubs with a bioluminescent glow from their abdomen. They have small legs which can be used to stick to surfaces and a large head with small teeth to chew food. Grubs are typically housed within smaller tunnels in the colony and attended to and protected by Antlion Workers and Antlion Guardians while Antlion Soldiers forage for food on the surface. Any creature that is brought back to the hive is desposited within the 'grub tunnels' where the grubs feast on their corpses. These grubs seem to have a tendency of wandering around since they can be found outside their tunnels or even closer to the surface, and produce silk which often line the entrance of their tunnels.

The process by which Antlion grubs mature is unknown, nor how they transform into the varieties of Antlions seen throughout the hive. Regardless, they become ferocious creatures dedicated solely to the well-being and expansion of the colony. As a collective, Antlions are a formidable force. They are relentless creatures that will attack continously even at the cost of their lives. A large Antlion colony can rapidly expand their territory, destroying structures and killing any life that is unfortunate enough to get in their way. Their only limitation have is their sensitivity to strong vibrations. For this reason, the Combine installed Restrictors along areas where they can be found in order to limit their movements. These machines send strong vibrational shockwaves to the ground which impede the Antlions' movement both undeground and on the surface. If these machines are somehow turned off, Antlions will mobilize their numbers quickly to take over an area within a short period of time, as seen in Nova Prospekt and when City 17's defenses failed after the Citadel's explosion.


According to the Victory Mine Vortigaunt, Antlions were once farmed by Vortigaunts for their larval extract and a number of other purposes, possibly on their homeworld (no Xen creature is native to Xen[2]). Since the Combine invasion of Earth and the beginning of the Portal Storms, the Antlions have established themselves on Earth. They have been very successful in doing so, and may have caused the extinction of many of Earth's land fauna. Their propagation on Earth has been so successful that the Combine had to install Restrictors to limit their movements as not to encroach into Combine-controlled areas. Antlions were also present in the Quarantine Zone. The Combine extracted an orange substance from their bodies, presumably to be used to control the Xen infestation in the Zone.

Behind the scenes[]

  • Concept stages of the game had Antlions depicted as a patriarchal society, being led by Antlion Kings, as opposed to the matriarchal queen/drone system that many of Earth's eusocial insects have such as ants, bees, wasps, etc.
    • However, because this was in early stages of game development, and Antlion Kings are not present in the games, it is unclear how the Antlion social system actually works.
  • In the cut wasteland chapters of Half-Life 2, the player was to visit Antlion caves where they would meet the Antlion King and Antlion Grubs, among other enemies. This idea was to a certain extent brought back in Episode Two with the Antlion Guardian taking its place.


  • The Antlion (scientific name Myrmeleontidae) is an actual insect; strictly speaking, the term Antlion applies to its larval form, which does somewhat resemble the Antlion Grub.
  • The Soldier and Worker Antlions cannot swim, and because they are blind, they cannot avoid going into the water, once they are deep enough they will thrash around in vain for a few seconds before drowning. If the drowning Antlion is punted onto dry land by the Gravity Gun, they will continue to thrash around and eventually drown on land.
  • The Soldier, Grub, and Worker Antlions are one of the few living things affected by the Gravity Gun (the other ones being the Headcrabs). When punted, the soldiers and workers will flip upside down and any damage they receive will be doubled. The grubs die instantly upon being punted.
  • The name Antlion can also be a play on words; with the "ant" part referring to its behaviour and hierarchy and the "lion" part referring to its size, which is similarly sized to a lion.
  • Russell often refers to Antlions as leggies, unaware of their real name until Alyx tells him later.
  • The antlions are last seen in the chapter "NOVA PROSPEKT" in Half Life 2.


Retail Antlions[]

Cut Antlions[]


List of appearances[]


Imagecat The Half-Life Wiki has more images related to Antlion.

External links[]