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"Beware the acid-lions. Their corrosive spray permits quick carving of rock passages, but also serves as a strong deterrent to hive robbers like ourselves."

The Antlion Worker (also known as Acid-lion) is a type of Antlion, only found in or near Antlion nests in which they perform various tasks including the tending of Antlion Grubs.


The Antlion Worker is a four-legged insectoid creature with a termite-like head, and standing round 3 to 5 feet in height and 6 feet in length. They have a similar body arrangement to that of the Antlion Soldier with their head in front and a raised abdomen in the back. Their limbs are also arranged in the same way with the front legs lower on their body facing backwards and their back legs on their hind facing forward. This is where their similarites end, as Antlion Workers look very different from soldiers. Their heads are large and oval-shaped, similar to that of a termite. Their exoskeleton is white and appears less segmented than the Soldiers. Their wings are noticably smaller as well, making the Worker less effective in flight than the Soldiers.

True to their name, Antlion Workers mainly work inside the nest where they take care of the grubs and perform maintenance of the colony. As such, they are rarely encountered on the surface. They produce a corrosive acid which they use to carve out rocks and expand the colony. This acid, which also contains neurotoxins, also acts as a defensive weapon and can be launched from their mouth at high speed through a considerable distance to damage any potential intruders. This potent toxin appears to be highly pressured within its body, as an Antlion Worker will explode in a shower of venomous acid when enough damage is dealt to them.

Antlion Workers appear in Half-Life: Alyx with a completely new appearance. Their bodies are a lot more similar to the Soldier's new appearance, with a segmented exoskeleton covering their bodies and wings and bristles sprouting across their bodies. Notable differences are its dark-green coloring compared to the dark-grey of the soldiers as well as large eyes on the front of their head, a feature not seen in Antlions before. They attack by shooting blue acid balls at enemies, leaving their abdomen vulnerable when doing so.

Behavior and skills[]

Antlion Workers move similarly to the Soldiers, but behave very differently. The Worker's main weapon is its acidic spit, which it shoots at a distance to any threat. Consequently, they will try to gain distance or move to higher ground in order to get an advantageous position over their enemies. Once at a suitable position, Workers will spit acid on their targets, which comes out of their mouth in concentrated globules. If their attacker gets too close, they will try to move back and regain distance to fire their acid, though they will on occasion resort to melee attacks with their legs and mouth.

Antlion Workers will retreat into cover after firing an attack or when taking damage, displaying a level of intelligence and self-preservation not usually seen in the species. However, Antlion Workers are as oblivious to enviromental hazards as Antlion Soldiers, so they can occasionally die to these enviromental hazards such as drowning after landing on water or snagging itself on a barnacle's tongue.



Antlion Worker.

The most important thing to watch for in a Worker is its acid attack. Due to its neurotoxic content, the Worker's acid attack has the same effect as a Poison Headcrab's, where it will drop the player's health but slowly recover it over time sans the acid damage. Therefore, cover and dodging plays an important role in avoiding the attack. It is worth noting that the acid attack is not a single projectile, but a cluster of globules coming at an arc. This means that dodging one doesn't mean avoiding the others even when utilising cover.

Despite their role as maintenance workers, Antlion Workers are much more durable than Soldiers. This combined with their tendency to hit-and-run can make killing them quite difficult. Antlion Workers frequently move out of sight or into a new position after firing a shot or two. Using weapons with a high rate of fire like the MP7 can be useful as the player can shoot at the general area of the Worker when it is exposed. Alternatively, the player can use a high damage output like the Colt Python can help deal maximum damage to a Worker when it is out in the open, though this can be difficult due to the Worker's tendency to move a lot. Explosives like the MP7's grenade launcher or a regular grenade can also deal significant damage to a Worker even from behind its cover. A worker will only remain stationary out in the open for a few moments before it fires its acid, so make use of that window but be ready to move out of the way immediately after.

Assaulting a Worker up close can be a viable strategy in some situations, because they rarely use their melee attacks and will usually try to retreat instead, giving a chance to chew them up with the SMG or the Shotgun as they try to escape. Keep in mind that if the distance is not closed fast enough, and the worker has time to use its ranged attack, there is less time to dodge the projectile then from far away. Also take bote that Workers explode acid when they die, so being too close when it does can deal significant damage to the player. The Gravity Gun is ideal in this situation as the player can hit the Worker with a blast from it to knock it back and flip it over, same as a Soldier. Once on its back, it can be taken out easily by shooting its weaker exposed underside with something as simple as a pistol.

When being accompanied by NPCs such as the the Vortigaunt and Alyx Vance, don't leave them to attack the Workers alone when they are present, as the high damage output could kill them even with their programmed regenerating health. Instead, try to remove them when the opportunity allows it. The Vortigaunts electric attack in particular can turn the Worker on its back, so keep watch for the opportunity of an easy kill. When you travel together with the two, keep in mind that Thumpers are less effective on Workers as they can still fire their spitballs without getting close.

In Half-Life: Alyx, Antlion Workers can be killed by shooting their exposed abdomen while they prepare a projectile attack. They can also be dismembered by shooting their legs, which limits their mobility, but unlike Antlion Soldiers, this isn't necessary to kill them.


The Antlion Worker first appears in the first two chapters of Half-Life 2: Episode Two, To The White Forest and This Vortal Coil. Alone, Gordon Freeman encounters several of them in an underground Antlion nest attached to an old mine shaft.

They also appear in the Half-Life: Alyx chapter Revelations.

Behind the scenes[]

The early model of the Antlion Worker had the same body of the Antlion Soldier, with a bioluminescent belly and was white-green colored, instead of yellow-green.


  • According to the Orange Box Prima guide, Antlions Workers are a mutation and subgenus of the normal Antlion. It is rumored that they first sprung from mutated Antlions who burrowed near toxic waste dumps. This would suggest that Workers only appeared after Antlions colonized Earth, but due to their established role in building and maintaining Antlion nests, Antlion Workers being nothing but a recent mutation would seem unlikely. This explanation likely dates from the period in Episode Two's development when the new Antlion was simply a regular Antlion that glowed, rather than an entirely new variety.
  • Like the Overwatch Elite and Antlion Guardian, it is not possible to spawn the Workers via npc_Create console command since it shares the same entity as normal Antlions, However it is possible to spawn it by ent_create and adding the appropriate flags.
  • Punting the Antlion Worker with the Supercharged Gravity Gun will not kill it but rather flip it over. They also cannot be grabbed using the alternate fire.




List of appearances[]


  1. The Orange Box Prima Guide