Image Credit: Deborah S. taken in the Ironwood Forest National Monument, AZ
One of the true corsairs, the Western Corsair is an efficient assassin that does its best work at night.
A Western Corsair is a type of Assassin Bug, and it has a long fang or beak tucked under its ant-like head. This fang is used to stab insect prey, but if roughly handled by a human, it may use it to inflict a painful wound that can last for days. The long antennae bend close to the head. The orange-red color of the head and thorax distinguish it from other related Corsairs which have a black head and thorax. The front pair of legs are a bit thicker than the others. A large yellow dot sits in a black area on each wing. When both wings are closed over each other, the yellow dots align and look like a single spot. The sides of the abdomen are visible when wings are closed tightly like this, and a black and yellow checkered pattern can be seen on the slightly flared outer edges.
Its diet consists of a variety of other insects. It tends to remain out of sight during the day by hiding under stones, wood, and other cover. It comes out at night and may be attracted to lighting. Encounters between the Western Corsair and people are more likely to happen during twilight and dusk. Adults are most active from mid-summer through most of autumn.
Scientific Name: Rasahus thoracicus
Size (Adult; Length): 16mm to 20mm (0.62in to 0.78in)
Colors: orange; black; yellow
Descriptors: orange spot; yellow dot; flying; painful; biting; checkered side; black and yellow sides; big biceps
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