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Friday, June 4, 2010

Assassin bug

Based on Scientific classification, Assassin bugs are members of the family Reduviidae in the true bug order Hemiptera

Living up to its common name of Assassin Bug, it is a predatory insect that has long-legs, normally exhibiting dark sinister colors, black, brownish or reddish complete with beady eyes and extended proboscis or some calls it rostrum, not a pleasant sight when magnified.

It can fly as witnessed by the author with very rapid wing movements albeit slowly.
Assassin bugs catches prey with a death grip, using its foreleg that in some species have sharp barbs that makes it difficult to escape, next the proboscis are then used to penetrate the prey injecting a potent digestive juice into the prey, paralyzing and killing the prey mercifully in a matter of seconds. The liquefied muscles and tissues of the prey are then sucked up much like us drinking water using a straw, a scenario befitting any horror movie.



But I think this is an efficient method of feeding where food is externally digested, avoiding the need for chewing and other necessities that goes with it. At the same time, I can imagine an accidental bite from them would be extremely painful, severely uncomfortable at the very least and requiring long healing time.


Found throughout the world, they are considered beneficial for insect pest control as generally their preferred food are insect that we considered as pest, like cockroaches, flies and termites.
Supposedly carnivorous but the specimen shown (Cosmolestes picticeps) is one species reported in Malaysia to also feed on nectar of flowers, this is of course not verifiable. There are also some other species reported that feeds on blood of mammals.

3 comments:

wengchun said...

Hi. Would like to share a photo of the assassin bug feeding on nectar. check out http://www.nature2pixel.com/?p=372

Tung Kin Foong said...

Thank you for sharing the photo. So some assassin bugs do feed on nectar, interesting.

total12 said...

The liquefied muscles and tissues of the prey are then sucked up much like us drinking water using a straw, a scenario befitting any horror movie.
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