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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. They produce a corrosive acid (which is also a neurotoxin) which they use to create tunnels for the nest and also to ward off attackers.


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. Like other Antlion castes, their legs are arranged oddly, with their back legs set at their front, and vice versa, walking with four legs. Antlion Workers occupy the same role as Ant workers and Termite workers do on Earth, likely performing labor within their colonies.

Behavior and skills

Like regular Antlions, workers can fly short distances; however, their wings are smaller, therefore workers cannot fly as far as regular Antlions. Antlion workers primarily attack by hurling 'spitballs' of neurotoxin or acid at foes from a distance with great accuracy, similar to Bullsquids. If caught up close they will attack with their claws, but they usually prefer to use their more powerful ranged attack and will often retreat if their attacker gets too close. These factors combine to make the Antlion worker an uncommonly standoffish foe.

When killed, Antlion Workers explode in a shower of acid inflicting considerable splash damage on anything within range.

A different breed of Antlion Workers can be found inside the Quarantine Zone. These have similar body structure to Quarantine Zone Antlion Soldiers, with the difference of having large red eyes, dark green skin, and glowing blue legs and abdomen. They attack by shooting blue acid balls at enemies, but leaving their abdomen vulnerable when doing so.



Antlion Worker.

Antlion Workers have a large number of hitpoints, and due to their highly effective ranged attacks, they are considerably more dangerous than normal Antlions. However, they use a very different strategy against opponents.

Antlion Workers utilize a powerful, acid-spit attack at range. The attack has the same effect as poison, that is, it will drop the player's health, but it will slowly recover over time. It is worth noting that the acid attack is not a single projectile, but many that spread out with distance. This makes it very difficult to fully dodge the attack.

Workers are extremely adept at using their acid attack, and can successfully hit the player at nearly any range. They also appear to slightly alter the trajectory to arc over obstacles.

Attacking with the Colt Python is not advised, as Workers move around far to quickly to get an accurate shot, likely resulting in the player wasting valuable ammo. The large area their attack covers also makes it likely the player will be hit if they are standing still trying to get an accurate shot. More so with the several shots required to kill it.

Assaulting a Worker up close can be a viable strategy in some situations, because although they can attack with their claws, this is not particularly effective and they will usually try to retreat instead, giving a chance to chew them up with the MP7 or the Shotgun as they try to escape. On the other hand, 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. Keep in mind that when the worker dies, it showers everything nearby in acid.

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, weapons with high-spread like the Shotgun and the MP7, are very effective at killing opponents that are very difficult to hit, like Workers. The MP7 in particular is very effective because it is fully automatic and can be fired as soon as the Worker is exposed. This allows one to focus on dodging the Worker's attacks and simply spray the area with fire.

Regardless of the method chosen, be prepared to go through ammo rather quickly, as the health of an Antlion Worker is high enough that one will use a fair amount of ammunition in order to kill it.

Like regular Antlions, Workers can be flipped over with the Gravity Gun, exposing their more vulnerable undersides and allowing an easy kill. However, using the Crowbar is not advised as they explode when killed thus hurting the player.

Because the acid inflicts high damage, it is best not to leave the Vortigaunt and Alyx to attack the Workers alone, especially when there is more than one worker, as they could get killed, thus failing the game. Even though they have the ability to regenerate their health, it is likely that they will die.

The Restrictor does not stop the Antlion Workers, as the Workers can still fire their spitballs when attacking. It is recommended to kill the Workers before attacking the Soldiers.

The only way to kill an Antlion Worker without having it explode is to lure it into deep water, causing it to drown or alternately, lead it into the tongue of a barnacle. However, when the Barnacle bites into it, the worker will still explode, killing the Barnacle.

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
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