Shield bugs etc. 1, 2

Reduviidae, Assassin bugs

There are over 6,700 species of Reduviidae in the world. The are commonly called assassin bugs because of their fierceness. The adult body length in this family ranges from 3 - over 40mm. Most have a short "beak" which they use to stab downwards into their prey. Most species prey on other insects, but one group feeds on the blood of vertibrates. Chagas disease is transmitted to humans bu species in this group.

Assassin bug, masked hunter, bed bug hunter, the kissing bug, Reduvius personatus

Below is Reduvius personatus, the assassin bug, or masked hunter. The name masked hunter is attributed to the nymph which has a sticky body surface which can become covered in debris.

Fully grown adult length is 17 -22 mm. The colour is brown/black. It is common in Europe and the US and adults are commonly seen in June and July. Both adults and nymphs suck the contents of bed bugs, lacewings, earwigs, and anything else they can find.

If handled they can give a painful stab, but do not normally feed on mammal blood, but will take a blood meal from a sleeping human. They are active mainly at night.

Adults can stridulate (produce sound by rubbing body parts together) by rubbing their back against their prosternum (first segment of its thorax). They are usually found around and in houses.

Reduvius personatus, the assassin bug

Also in the Reduviidae family is Platymeris rhadamanthus, the Red Spot Assassin from Africa. As its common name suggests it is red or orange and black. This bug can spit up to 30 cm and its saliva can cause intense pain and swelling if it hits the eye or nose. It can kill prey many times its size, and can live for 2 - 3 years. Adults are around 4 cm long, and recently it has become popular as a pet. When kept in captivity it can be fed on worms and crickets.

Lantern bug, Laternaria maculata, Fulgora maculata

Lantern bug, Laternaria maculata, Fulgora maculata

Above is a lantern bug, also known as Lanternflies and Lanthorn flies. It was believed that light was produced from the end of the insect's "nose". Lantern bug is just a general name covering over 100 species. This species is found in Sri Lanka.

Fulgora laternaria, Lantern bug

Fulgora laternaria, Lantern bug

Above is Fulgora laternaria, a Lantern bug with a number of common names that include, Lantern fly, Peanut-headed lantern fly, and Alligator bug. Its body length can reach 90 mm and its wingspan 150 mm. The peanut-like protuberance can be as long as 15mm, and has false eyes. When disturbed it flashed its other set of false eyes on its hind wings, and just to make sure of seeing off any predator it releases a foul-smelling liquid. Adults fly from June to December and feed on tree sap. It is native to Mexico, Central and South America. The Fulgora genus contains nine species, all fairly similar in appearance.

Some people in Amazonia believe that a bite from this bug is deadly, and that the only way to prevent death after being bitten is to have sex within 24 hours.