Thread-legged Bug with Spider Prey

April 16th, 2012 - 9:29 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 1 Comment

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

Assassin Bug

December 10th, 2011 - 9:55 AM | Filed under Featured Photos | 3 Comments

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.

Immature Assassin Bug

October 26th, 2011 - 6:56 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 3 Comments

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.

Bee Mimicking Assassin Bug

July 13th, 2011 - 9:56 AM | Filed under Featured Photos | 1 Comment

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

Identification Challenge #12 Reveal: Emesinae

June 21st, 2011 - 6:31 PM | Filed under Identification Challenges | No comments

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.

Identification Challenge #6 Reveal

December 11th, 2010 - 2:17 PM | Filed under Identification Challenges | No comments

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.

Assassin Bug Mimicking Bee

September 7th, 2010 - 10:43 AM | Filed under Featured Photos | No comments

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.

Amazon Insects:
A Photo Guide

by James L. Castner
Latin American Insects and Entomology
by Charles L. Hogue