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  • Milkweed Assassin Bug - (Zelus longipes)

    Milkweed Assassin Bug - (Zelus longipes)

    Milkweed Assassin Bugs mimic the abundant herbivore, Large Milkweed Bug, adding another advantage to its mode of food-hunting.

    Picture of Milkweed Assassin Bug
    Staff Writer (8/2/2017): Milkweed Assassin Bugs are red and black in almost the same places as Large Milkweed Bugs. This makes it easier to walk among prey. Large Milkweed Bugs eat seeds and plant stems, leaving other insects alone. Mimicking such a 'friendly' bug allows the Milkweed Assassin to tread closer to unsuspecting prey. Assassin Bugs in general are just that: assassins. They quickly attack an insect and repeatedly stab it with a large fang. This fang kills the insect allowing the Milkweed Assassin to feed on its insides. This same fang is also able to stab people, inflicting a very painful wound that eventually heals.

    Look for Milkweed Assassin Bugs on milkweed plants as well as flowers.

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    Details of the:
    Milkweed Assassin Bug

    Category: True Bug
    Common name: Milkweed Assassin Bug
    Scientific Name: Zelus longipes
    Other Names: Long-legged Assassin Bug

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Hemiptera
          Family: Reduviidae
           Genus: Zelus
            Species: longipes

    Size (Adult, Length): 14mm to 20mm (0.55in to 0.79in)

    Identifying Colors: red, black

    Additional Descriptors: beneficial, painful, biting, fang, flying, predator

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Arkansas; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Nebraska;New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Vermont; Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin; British Columbia; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Mexico

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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