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Eastern Blood-sucking Conenose (Triatoma sanguisuga)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Eastern Blood-sucking Conenose

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A 'kiss' or bite from a female Eastern Blood-sucking Conenose can be a source of infection for disease if its feces is nearby.

Updated: 04/10/2023; Authored By ; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The tapered beak of the Eastern Blood-sucking Conenose looks similar to a cone on the face of this insect. The Eastern Blood-sucking Conenose is part of a group of biting insects also called Kissing Bugs. It is also known as a type of bed bug. The female has nocturnal feeding habits and takes blood from a mammal host to aid in egg development; the male feeds on other insects, including Bed Bugs. In the great outdoors, females search for a mammal, typically rodents, in order to feed. They may wander inside, however, and search for a host indoors. Pets and people can serve as blood hosts, and if chosen, the insect or evidence of its presence is usually found in the host's bedding. Feces, eggs, and/or nymphs (juveniles) may be found in mattresses, blankets, pillows, or around pet beds.

The bite, or 'kiss' from the Eastern Blood-sucking Conenose may lead to infection and disease if the circumstances are right. In Canada and the U.S., the risk of developing Chagas disease is considered low by the Canadian Medical Association and Center for Disease Control. It is more prevalent in Mexico and countries in Central and South America. The bug's feces naturally contains a parasite calledTrypanosoma cruzi. This parasite causes Chagas disease when it enters the bloodstream. An infection occurs when the bug's feces is inadvertently rubbed into a fresh wound, into the mouth, or perhaps an eye, which can happen when the host moves while asleep. A chagoma, or red, swollen area, forms at an infection site. If the eye is the infected area, it swells shut and forms what is called a Romaña sign. There are some people who may be sensitive and allergic to the saliva of the insect. In these people, an allergic reaction creates inflammation and tremendous itching at the bite wound. Allergic reactions from the bug's saliva do not develop Chagas disease. If a bite from the Eastern Blood-sucking Conenose is suspected, the CDC recommends contacting a health-care provider. It also suggests capturing one (avoid touching it) in order to confirm its identity at a local health department, extension service, or university.

To reduce the likelihood of this insect, or any insect, from entering a building, be sure to seal any gaps and cracks around doors, windows, and rooflines. Keep wood piles and debris away from the building. Keep pet areas and bedding clean, and regularly check for the presence of insects.©InsectIdentification.org

Known Diet of the Eastern-Blood-Sucking-Conenose-Bug

mammal blood (female only); insects
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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Insect biting icon
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Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hemiptera
        Family: Reduviidae
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          Genus: Triatoma
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            Species: sanguisuga

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Triatoma sanguisuga
Other Name(s): Mexican Bed Bug; Big Bed Bug; Kissing Bug
Category: True Bug
Size (Adult; Length): 16mm to 21mm (0.62" to 0.82")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; red
Descriptors: flared body; checkers on the side body; biting; harmful; nocturnal; bed

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 16mm (0.6in) and 21mm (0.8in)
Lo: 16mm
Md: 18.5mm
Hi: 21mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Eastern Blood-sucking Conenose 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 Eastern Blood-sucking Conenose. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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