Milkweed Assassin Bug (Zelus longipes)
Detailing the identifying qualities of the Milkweed Assassin Bug, including physical features and territorial reach.
Updated: 8/2/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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.