Blog Archives

Thread-legged Bug with Spider Prey

30mm long | December 30, 2011 | Quirinópolis, Goiás, Brazil

This thread-legged bug appears to be hanging in mid-air, but in fact it has delicately balanced itself on a spider web. Its beak holds a small spider that it must have just plucked from the center of the web.

Some thread-legged specialize in spiders, and I wonder if this might be one of them. Some are even known to lure the spider by plucking at the web like captured prey might.

Another view

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Assassin Bug

July 8, 2011 | Victorio Siqueroli Park, Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

This assassin bug mimics a bee quite well. It even seems to have pollen baskets on its hind legs.

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Immature Assassin Bug

15mm long | July 5, 2011 | Victorio Siqueroli Park, Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

It looks somewhat clumsy at this stage, but it’s nonetheless a capable predator.

Closer view

I forgot to turn off one of the flash heads so as to avoid the double eye highlight.

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Bee Mimicking Assassin Bug

10mm body | July 9, 2011 | Tupaciguara, Minas Gerais, Brazil

For me, those wings are what really give this assassin bug in the family Reduviidae the appearance of a bee.

Dorsal view

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Identification Challenge #12 Reveal: Emesinae

30mm (body) | January 20, 2011 | Armonia Nature Preserve, Limon Province, Costa Rica

Only one reader commented on the latest identification challenge. Bryan Reynolds found it easy to identify this as a thread-legged bug in the subfamily Emesinae (family Reduviidae). Be sure to check out Bryan’s new non-profit, The Butterflies of the World Foundation.

This thread-legged bug was spotted in some leaf litter, finishing off some sort of nondescript prey.

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Identification Challenge #6 Reveal

As I suspected, this challenge was easily met by all commenters.

October 8, 2009 | Twelvestones, Roswell, GA, USA

It is of course Arilus cristatus, commonly known as the wheel bug for the very structure shown above. I didn’t get a full body shot of this specimen, but here’s a wider view.

Facing opposite direction from the previous image

Among the largest assassin bugs in North America, they can deliver a painful stab with that beak. I foolishly held one when I was a kid, and I’ll not be making that mistake twice.

For more info, see the species info page at BugGuide.

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Assassin Bug Mimicking Bee

January 26, 2010 | Caraça Natural Park, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Tropical assassin bugs come in an amazing variety of forms. This one reminds me of a bee, though I didn’t see anything on my trip that might serve as a model. Despite extensive searching of the internet, I didn’t turn up any photos of a species resembling this individual.

A couple of my books do mention assassin bugs that mimic bees and wasps, so I think that’s probably what’s going on here.



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