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Assassin Bug: Z. luridus (Zelus luridus)


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



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This narrow-bodied, green Assassin Bug is a stealthy killer of all sorts of garden pests.



Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Adults of this species come in shades of green and even some brown. They all have a spine or spiky point extending from its 'shoulders'. Red eyes bulge out of either side of the head. A large, long fang is tucked, or curled under, in front of the face. This fang is a formidable weapon used to stab other insects to death. This dagger-like fang can also inflict pain if it pierces human skin. Nymphs look like smaller, thinner versions of adults. They are almost a lime-green color and shades of brown around the neck collar are starting to develop. Orange and white markings along the 'spine' area are visible. Wings have not yet formed at this stage, but they will develop after molting.

Look for nymphs in the early part of summer on leaves and stems of plants. They may be seen in groups as they emerge from their brown eggs, which are clustered together, usually on a leaf. Adults are active predators all summer long and even into autumn.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Insect biting icon
Spiny / Spiky insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hemiptera
        Family: Reduviidae
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          Genus: Zelus
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            Species: luridus
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Zelus luridus
Category: True Bug
Size (Adult; Length): 12mm to 18mm (0.47" to 0.70")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: green, red, orange, yellow, brown
Descriptors: slender, fang, biting, pointy spiky shoulders, red eyes
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Range Between 12mm and 18mm
Lo: 12mm
Md: 15mm
Hi: 18mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Assassin Bug: Z. luridus may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects 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. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Assassin Bug: Z. luridus. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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