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Assassin Bug (Pselliopus spp.)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Assassin Bug.


 Updated: 2/2/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org



  Assassin Bug  
Picture of Assassin-Bug


Rough handling can invite an intense and unforgettably painful 'bite' from the powerful fang of an Assassin Bug juvenile or adult.





The strong beak found on Assassin bugs is used to repeatedly, and violently, stab its prey to death, hence the name 'assassin'. This insect can also inflict terribly painful bites on careless humans and may be best left observed and not handled. The long, pointy beak is kept tucked under the head when not in use and makes noise when moved back-and-forth. They do not feed on plants, but they hunt on them. They can be found on shrubs, ground cover, and garden plants as they search for insect prey. Assassin Bugs move quickly and nimbly, surprising their victims. Once a prey item is caught, Assassin bugs use their powerful front legs to hold the insect down while it is stabbed to death and body fluids are subsequently sucked out.

Adults have narrow heads and wider abdomens. Many are black with red or orange markings on them though some are brown. The sides of the abdomen are flared upward and may have a checkered pattern on them. A long fang hides under the head. Nymphs (juveniles) are smaller, though somewhat similar in appearance. They also tend to have abdomens that rise upward at the sides. They may lift the tip of the abdomen in the air when walking or resting, like their 'butt' is in the air. This posture mimics certain types of stinging insects when they are under threat and may be a defensive warning. The irony is that the real danger from Assassin Bugs originates at this insect's front end.

Most of North America is home to some type of Assassin Bug. The Wheel Bug is a commonly seen member of the Assassin Bug family. Its red and black nymphs are often sighted crawling in large groups on branches during spring and summer. Because of their diet, they are a helpful aid in controlling unwanted insect populations in a garden.
Basic Information
Common Name: Assassin Bug
Scientific Name: Pselliopus spp.
Category: True Bug


General Identification
Size (Adult; Length): 12mm to 13mm (0.47in to 0.51in)
Colorwheel Graphic
Identifying Colors: red; orange; black; white; gray
Additional Descriptors: mouth, stripes, long legs, fang, harmful, biting, stinging




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Family: Reduviidae
Genus: Pselliopus
Species: spp.




Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed below as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections below indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico


Territorial Area Map (Visual Reference Guide)
The map below showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Assassin Bug may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data can be useful in seeing concentrations of a particular species over the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some species are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America.
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
State of Arkansas graphic
State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
State of Georgia graphic
State of Idaho graphic
State of Illinois graphic
State of Indiana graphic
State of Iowa graphic
State of Kansas graphic
State of Kentucky graphic
State of Louisiana graphic
State of Maine graphic
State of Maryland graphic
State of Michigan graphic
State of Minnesota graphic
State of Mississippi graphic
State of Missouri graphic
State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


Images Gallery for the Assassin Bug
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