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Assassin Bugs - Family Reduviidae

This page contains pictures and information about Assassin Bugs that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
 
Common Assassin Bug and its strong piercing-sucking mouthparts
 
All Assassin bugs are predators. They prey on all small animal such as snails, insects including caterpillars, spiders and other arthropods. 
 
They can be distinguished from other bugs by their elongated head and short curved proboscis. All other plant-feeding bugs have their proboscis flat against under their head when not in use. Assassin Bugs' proboscis is curved outwards from the head. To catch prey, Assassin Bugs swing their proboscis forwards to attack.
 
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Assassin Bugs feed on their prey by puncturing them with sharp stylets in their proboscis, then inject saliva which will paralyses the prey, and then suck up the body fluids. As some other bugs, Assassin Bugs are slow moving. However, their bit can be painful.
 
The antennae of Assassin Bugs are four segmented and about the same length as the body. The legs are very long and this extended the longer attack distance.

Subfamily Harpactorinae - Long legs Assassin Bugs

Assassin bugs in this subfamily are usually long-legged and hunting on plants. They usually active during the day time.
 
Common Assassin Bug, Bee Killer
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Pristhesancus plagipennis, nymph body length 15mm, adult 20mm
We found the Nymph Common Assassin Bug when it was chasing a small Flower Spider on the Hibiscus plants in our backyard in a mid autumn night. We only saw them once in our backyard. As most Assassin Bugs, it is bright orange in colour with black legs and long antenna. The adult Common Assassin Bug was found on a oak tree in Wishart in mid-winter. They have their distinct neck between thorax and head. They are predators of other small insects and spiders.  Most Assassin Bugs will give a very painful bite, so don't touch them. More information on the Common Assassin Bugs page.
 
 
Orange Assassin Bug, Red Assassin Bug
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Gminatus wallengreni or Gminatus australis, body Length 17mm
This assassin bugs look similar to the Common Assassin Bugs but the colour is different. The body are orange red in colour with black legs and black wings. We took the first picture in Wishart Bushland in early winter. Later in early summer we found a pair of the Red Assassin Bugs wandering near a Stingless Bee nest. They seem looking for chances to hunt some bees. More pictures and information please visit this page
 
 
Spiny-legs Assassin Bug
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Scipinia arenacea,  body length 15mm
Although this Red Assassin Bug is small in size, its fore legs is very strong and spiny. The bug is orange-red in colour with black wings. Its legs are orange-red too. The picture shows the bug feeding a ladybird larvae on a Milkweed plant. There is more information about this bug in this page.
 
 
Ants Killer Assassin Bug
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? Catasphactes sp., body length 10mm
This assassin big is golden yellow in colours with black head and thorax. Its wings are membrane part of the wings is black. All its legs are also black. Please check this page for more information.
 
 
Small Yellow Assassin Bug
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? Catasphactes coprias, body length 10mm
We found this Assassin Bug once in Karawatha Forest. This Assassin Bug is relatively small in size. It was resting on leaf. We took off and flied away after we took to photos.
Reference: 
1. coprias Stĺl, 1863 Catasphactes Reduviidae TYPUS - Swedish Museum of Natural History, 2007
 
 
Small Red Assassin Bug
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? Catasphactes sp, body length 10mm
Pictures taken in Anstead Forest Reserve on Feb 2009. The bug was flying and landed on leaf in front of us. It flied away after we took a few photos. 
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Reference:
Trachylestes aspericollis Assassin Bug - lifeunseen.com, by Nick Monaghan.  
 
 
Red Tiger Assassin Bug
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Havinthus rufovarius, adult, nymph, body length 18mm
We took those pictures in Karawatha Forest on a gum tree trunk during early October. The Assassin Bug was wandering on the tree trunk. It did not care very much on our approaching and taking those pictures. The bugs were red and black, the strong warning colour. As a predator and with strips on body and legs, we call this bug Red Tiger. More information and pictures can be found in this page.
 
 
Long Assassin Bug
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Australcmena lineativentris, body length 25-30mm
This assassin bug is long and has slender body. It is brown in colour with find white patterns on body. Its wings and very long legs are dark brown in colour. There are the short spins on it thorax. Its has the typical small and long head with long and curved proboscis. Please visit this page for more pictures and information.
 

Subfamily Peiratinae - Ground Assassin Bugs 

Bugs in this subfamily are usually robust, ground-living and active during the night. Most are brown or black in colours. 
 
Orange Ground Assassin Bug
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Ectomocoris patricius, female body length 20mm, 
We found this orange and black Assassin Bug running very fast on forest floor. This bug will bite if handle by bare hand. The insect has very strong front pair legs. All its legs are orange in colour. Its orange colour body with black pattern is the standard assassin bug warning colour. This bug can sometimes be found under loose bark or on ground among plants materials. More pictures and information please visit this page.
 
 
Brown Ground Assassin Bug 
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Peirates sp., nymph, body length 16mm
This bug was found under the fallen bark of a large gum tree during late summer in Alexandra Hill. Notice its wing-buds, this is the last instars of winged male adult. Also notice its mouth-parts and strong front legs. Please also check this page
 
 
Black Ground Assassin Bug
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Peirates punctorius or Pirates flavopictus, body length 15mm
This ground assassin bug has strong pair of front legs. It is shiny black in colour. There is the creamy white mark between its thorax and abdomen. All its legs are black in colour. Please visit this page for more pictures and information.
 
 
Red Ground Assassin Bug
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Ectomocoris or Peirates sp.,, body length 20mm
This Red Ground Assassin Bug was found on Nov 2007 in Karawatha Forest. It was hiding under the bark of a burnt Paper Bark Tree trunk. 
The bug is wingless, dark red in colour, with two dull white spots on dark blue abdomen. The bug was slow moving. Not running fast as other Ground Assassin Bug. Please check this page for more information.
 
 
Red Winged Ground Assassin Bug
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Ectomocoris or Peirates sp.,, body length 20mm
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Pictures were taken in Karawatha Forest on Nov 2009. The bug was walking up on a large stingy-bark gum tree trunk. It hided under the bark when we came too closely. It looked very similar to the above species expect winged.  
 

Subfamily Tegeinae

There is only one species in this subfamily.
 
Termite Assassin Bug
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Tegea atropicta, adult body length 18mm, last instars body length 12mm
In Australia this is the only one member in this subfamily. This Assassin Bug was found in later summer on a gum tree trunk in Wishart Bushland. This bug is known a specialist predator of termites which are found on trees or fallen logs. More information and pictures can be found in this page.
 

Subfamily Ectrichodiinae

Night Killer Assassin Bug
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Mendola puellula, adult body length 15mm
Members in this subfamily are active at night, some are predators of millipedes. 
 

 
Unknown Assassin Bug
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? sp., body length 15mm 
The bug in the above pictures has the thinner body. We cannot ID this assassin bug. Please email us if you known what it is. 
 

We had made many ID mistakes in this page. Dávid Rédei of Hungarian Natural History Museum kindly sent us emails and corrected most of those mistakes. Here we would like to thank Dávid again.

Reference:
1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, pp 494.
2. Insects of Australia and New Zealand - R. J. Tillyard, Angus & Robertson, Ltd, Sydney, 1926, p150.
3. Checklist for HEMIPTERA: HETEROPTERA (Coleorrhyncha to Cimicomorpha) - Australian Biological Resources Study 

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Last updated: February 24, 2010.