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"Oh... Antlions... Now I know I'm not in heaven."
Alyx Vance[src]

Antlion Soldiers are the primary force of the Antlion species, and one of the most commonly seen varieties to be found on Earth. It is the first variety to be met by Gordon Freeman, during his trip along the Coast.


The Antlion Soldier is a four-legged insectoid creature around 3 to 5 feet in height and 6 feet in length. Their body is mainly comprised of two sections: the head, which holds the Antlion's mouth with five sharp teeth sticking out, and the abdomen, which houses its wings and legs. Antlion legs are arranged oddly, with the front legs attached to its underside facing backwards and the back legs attached to their abdomen facing forward. When moving, the front legs push backwards while the back legs push forward.

Like insects, Antlions have exoskeletons which provide a moderate amount of protection from damage. These outer shells are mostly green or brown with stripes of tan, yellow, purple and red. They have no visible eyes, and have three mouth-parts arranged in a triangle on their face. They also have insectoid wings which are housed within two carapace flaps. These two flaps open when the Antlion is in flight, similar to a beetle. These wings are not particularly powerful and cannot be used to fly indefinitely, but are rather used in short bursts of flight in order to get the Antlion to higher terrain or to quickly close in on a target.

In Half-Life: Alyx, Antlion Soldiers have a different appearance. They have a dark grey color and have bristles on thier body and legs. It is unknown if this is a design choice on the developer's part or a different subspecies of Antlion.

Behavior and skills[]

Antlion jump

An Antlion jumping.

Antlion Soldiers are seen to be ambush predators. They bury themselves on soft ground and sense for vibrations around them, then emerge and ambush their prey. They are extremely sensitive to vibration, as the slightest touch can quickly set them off to the surface. This sensitivity can be turned against them; Thumpers, machines which pound the ground rhythmically, overload their senses, causing them discomfort and preventing them from advancing forward. Antlion Soldiers can also be seen foraging for food in areas where it's not possible to bury underground, such as human settlements, and will venture outside the boundaries of their nest if needed to.

Antlion Soldiers are pack hunters that almost always hunt with each other, which allows them to take down targets stronger than a singular Soldier. They will swarm their target and attack them relentlessly with their legs and teeth from all sides until the target is killed, after which the corpse is taken back to the hive to feed their young. Antlion Soldiers are single-minded in this purpose and will recklessly attack any target regardless of its size or relative strength to them. As long as the target is alive, they will throw themselves at their prey with no regard to their own well-being. They will also disregard any deadly hazards in their way, such as charging into water despite the fact they cannot swim or charging straight into Barnacle tongues and getting themselves eaten. Antlions are also both fiercely territorial and invasive, and will take over an unprotected territory with their seemingly limitless numbers.


Bugbait view separate

An Antlion Pheropod as seen in Half-Life 2.

Occasionally, Antlion Guards will come to the surface and assist the Soldiers. These guards direct them through the use of pheromones produced within their body by an organ called the Pheropod. These organs, when extracted from the body of an Antlion Guard, will allow a user to control the common Antlions. Users can command Antlions to follow by squeezing the pod or move them a certain spot by throwing the pod to said spot. These pods do not fool Antlion Guards, who will remain hostile to the wielder. Antlions will also not follow the wielder when a Guard is around, perhaps due to being unable to distinguish a real Guard from the false one, but will not be hostile to the wielder.

Antlions make excellent shock troops, once a pod is thrown, the Antlions will charge at an incredible speed and attack whoever is in the immediate vicinity of where the pod landed. The Antlions can kill Overwatch soldiers in one hit, and seem to be able to take more punishment than those not directed through the use of a pheropod. Any Antlion killed will quickly respawn, even when there are no burrows around. The Antlions are also useful when trying to save ammunition as using the pheropod does not require ammunition to use.


  • Antlions are generally easy to kill, but are almost always encountered in numbers of three or more. If one is killed, another will emerge to replace it from sand or a burrow. Antlion burrows can be blocked with large objects such as cars.
  • The best way to kill Antlions is from a distance, as their melee attacks are quite powerful, and will cause the player to flinch, making their weapon aim awry.
  • Antlions are commonly encountered along with Headcrabs and Zombies, with whom they often share a habitat with. These two species are extremely hostile to each other and will attempt to kill one another on contact. Therefore a strategy here can be to wait for one to kill the other then moving in to kill the weakened victor, similar to the Half-Life strategy of sitting out of fights between the HECU and the Aliens.
  • Antlions can be knocked over with the Gravity Gun, exposing their more vulnerable undersides, a fact the player can take advantage of by switching to a secondary weapon to finish them off. It is possible to kill an Antlion by punting them repeatedly with the gravity gun, but it takes many hits and is not a practical form of attack. This is also a good way to get some distance from them when the player is being swarmed.
  • If the player has Pheropods, they can control Antlions. If trouble is met through an area guarded with Sentry Guns or Soldiers, Antlions can be used as a distraction. Antlions make very good area testers. Pheropods can be thrown ahead if an area is probably dangerous, and Antlions will often run straight through laser tripwires too.
  • Antlions in Episode Two are generally not infinite in number, as was the case in Half-Life 2 and Episode One. Stepping on their Grubs will not summon them, as was suggested in press releases - Valve removed the feature believing it would make the game (and the achievement for stepping on all 333 grubs) too hard and that the Antlion Grub's health nugget mechanic rarely be beneficial.
  • Antlions will drown if lured into water by the player. This is useful when they are first encountered, and especially in Episode Two, when the player is wandering through an Antlion nest. Using the Gravity Gun will make this easier
  • In Half-Life: Alyx, the Antlions have to be dismembered in order to be killed, as their shells are immune to bullets. They can be killed by shooting their abdomen.

Behind the scenes[]

Antlions Depot

Early screenshot of Antlions (with another cut skin) near the Beta Depot.

Beta NP soldiers antlions

Overwatch Soldiers battling Antlions in cell block B4 in the Beta Nova Prospekt.

  • The original Antlion skin was orange and had butterfly-like spots on its wings.
  • The name "Antlion Soldier" used on the wiki is not given in any official source; it was merely chosen to easily differentiate the common Antlion to the others, based on the similarities with the names given to the different real world ant classes and their related purposes.
  • In the Beta version, the player could summon many Antlions with the Bugbait as long as he could wait. This has been scrapped in the retail version and the maximum number of Antlions is now four.

Related achievements[]

Half-Life 2[]

Hl2 beat donttouchsand
Keep Off the Sand! 5 Gscore
Cross the Antlion beach in the chapter Sandtraps without touching the sand.
Hl2 kill enemies withantlions
Bug Hunt 10 Gscore
Use the Antlions to kill 50 enemies.

Half-Life 2: Episode One[]

Car Crusher
Car Crusher 5 Gscore
Use the cars to squash 15 Antlions in Episode One.

Half-Life 2: Episode Two[]

Ep2 beat antlioninvasion
Into the Breach 5 Gscore
Help Griggs and Sheckley hold off the Antlion invasion inside the mine shaft.


  • The Antlion Soldier characteristic of sensing prey via vibrations through the ground is reminiscent of other fictional creature's characteristics, such as the Sandworm from the Dune series and the Graboid from the Tremors film series.
  • The appearance of Antlion Soldiers bear a strong resemblance to the Warrior Bug from the Starship Troopers film series.
  • Antlion Soldiers are coded to kill Combine Soldiers in one hit. This is done to amplify the advantage of controlling Antlions when the player has the pheropods. This is not true for other human entities like Civil Protection officers and Resistance fighters.
  • The Antlions are possibly derived from the real world Antlion (Doodlebug). The Doodlebug digs a small cone-shaped hole in the ground, when an insect falls into the hole and is trapped inside because of its shape. The Doodlebug then eats the insect and flings the carcass out. The Antlions design in Half-Life 2 is partially based on the adult phase of the Doodlebug's life cycle, in which it can fly and mate, but doesn't live for very long. the Antlion however does not appear to be based on an adult Doodlebug, looking more like one in It's larval stage, possibly mixed with wasp-like elements (their abdomen in particular although it does not have a stinger.) Their wings appear to be similar to those of a Beetle.
  • Unlike other NPCs, if the player detonates a gas can or uses a console command to ignite an Antlion, it will die instantly. However, the fire will not appear on its body.
  • If an Antlion lands on another Antlion, the one that is landed on will be crushed.
  • Some parts of City 17 and Ravenholm have posters that show Antlion Soldiers on them.
  • Interestingly the a former concept Antlion design for HL2 was reused for Half-Life: Alyx.


Concept art[]


Half-Life 2[]

Half-Life: Alyx[]


List of appearances[]


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