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Milkweed Assassin Bug (Zelus longipes)


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


 Updated: 8/2/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org



  Milkweed Assassin Bug  
Picture of Milkweed-Assassin-Bug


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





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.
Basic Information
Common Name: Milkweed Assassin Bug
Other Name(s): Long-legged Assassin Bug
Scientific Name: Zelus longipes
Category: True Bug


General Identification
Size (Adult; Length): 14mm to 20mm (0.55in to 0.78in)
Colorwheel Graphic
Identifying Colors: red, black
Additional Descriptors: beneficial, painful, biting, fang, flying, predator




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




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 Milkweed 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


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