Assassin Bugs (Family Reduviidae)

Bee Killer Assassin Bug, Pristhesancus plagipennis, adult showing the strongly curved rostrum. A brightly coloured nymph of the Bee Killer Assassin Bug next to a mass of eggs from which it has just hatched.Assassin bugs use their proboscis to impale prey (insects and spiders) and inject powerful saliva that turns the prey's body contents to liquid. The bug then sucks up the juices through the proboscis, which acts like a straw.

Assassin bugs sometimes bite humans when provoked, for example when they become entangled in clothing. When they bite their saliva causes intense pain, but the effects are usually localised and temporary.  

There are more than 300 species of Australian assassin bugs in the Family Reduviidae. All of our species are predators with elongated heads and a curved rostrum beneath. The prey is impaled on the bug's rostrum and killed by digestive enzymes that liquefy the body tissues. The same enzymes cause intense local pain when humans are bitten.

Bee Killer Assassin Bug
Pristhesancus plagipennis

Biology

The Bee Killer Assassin Bug is a slow-moving predator that lurks among foliage and on flowers to ambush other insects as food. The species is found in open forest and woodland in eastern Queensland and New South Wales.

Identification

Length about 25 mm. The body is yellowish-brown with slender legs and transparent wings.

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