Assassin Bugs are medium-sized insects. They have an oval-shaped abdominal area, over which is superimposed overlapping wings that create the appearance of an "X" on the back. They are variously colored, and have a small narrow head that projects outward from the body. The front two pairs of legs are longer and more powerful than the hind legs: they are used to grab and hold insect prey. Assassin bugs actively hunt and feed on a variety of insects, sucking out their bodily juices. They occasionally lurk near flowers to feed on bees and other insects.
Known prey organisms
Based on studies in:
Costa Rica (Carrion substrate)
This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
- L. F. Jiron and V. M. Cartin, 1981. Insect succession in the decomposition of a mammal in Costa Rica. J. New York Entomol. Soc. 89:158-165, from p. 163.
Evolution and Systematics
The antennae of Rhodnius bugs detect heat from their potential victims using numerous sensitive, hairlike thermoreceptors.
"Rhodnius bugs are large, blood-sucking insects found throughout the Americas. They live in close proximity to their victims, in nests or burrows, and detect potential victims -- small, warm-blooded creatures such as mice -- by sensing their body heat. A Rhodnius bug has its own built-in thermometers on its antennae in the form of numerous exceedingly sensitive hairlike thermoreceptors, which can detect air that has been warmed by its prey's body heat." (Shuker 2001:38)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Shuker, KPN. 2001. The Hidden Powers of Animals: Uncovering the Secrets of Nature. London: Marshall Editions Ltd. 240 p.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
Specimens with Sequences:1201
Specimens with Barcodes:980
Species With Barcodes:197
To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!