Milkweed Assassin Bugs mimic an abundant herbivore gaining an advantage in its method for food-hunting.
A Milkweed Assassin Bug is red and black in almost the same places as Large Milkweed Bugs. This makes it easier to for the assassin to walk among its prey. While Large Milkweed Bugs eat seeds and plant stems, leaving other insects alone, Milkweed Assassin Bugs bug killers. Mimicking such a 'friendly' bug allows the Milkweed Assassin to tread closer to unsuspecting insect prey. 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.
Look for Milkweed Assassin Bugs on milkweed plants as well as flowers. It has a longer head and more slender 'waist' than its doppelganger.
Scientific Name: Zelus longipes
Other Name(s): Long-legged Assassin Bug
Size (Adult; Length): 14mm to 20mm (0.55in to 0.78in)
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 above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections 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.