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Masked Hunter (Reduvius personatus)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Masked Hunter

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Image Credit: Guy P.
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Image Credit: Dee M., taken in Manitoba
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Image Credit: J.R. from NY
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Image Credit: Guy P.
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The Masked Hunter may be a predator to small insects, but that doesn't stop it from inflicting painful bites on careless handlers.

Updated: 05/02/2024; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The Masked Hunter is a type of Assassin Bug. This family of insects is known for its ability to inflict painful bites on people thanks to a very strong, fang-like beak. This beak is normally used to rapidly stab an insect to death, but it also a weapon of self-defense if it feels threatened. Nymphs, or juveniles, are small and are covered in sticky hairs. Dust, lint, and dirt sticks to the body and legs of the nymph making it look appear more like an alien rather than an insect. This dusty covering makes the Masked Hunter nymph a curiosity to observers who do not know its true identity.

The Masked Hunter adult primarily eats Bed Bugs and is active at night. Sightings of Masked Hunters indoors are usually a result of a bed bug presence inside the home. To eliminate the Masked Hunter, its food source -bed bugs- must be removed. This process usually requires the help of a professional exterminator. In nature, Masked Hunters also eat roly polys (wood lice) and earwigs in the absence of their preferred food.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hemiptera
        Family: Reduviidae
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          Genus: Reduvius
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            Species: personatus

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Reduvius personatus
Category: True Bug
Size (Adult; Length): 10mm to 18mm (0.39" to 0.70")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; gray
Descriptors: dusty; dirty; biting; flying; noisy

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 10mm (0.4in) and 18mm (0.7in)
Lo: 10mm
Md: 14mm
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
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Masked Hunter 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 Masked Hunter. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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