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Spined Assassin Bug (Sinea diadema)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Spined Assassin Bug

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Image Credit: Noah Blades Photography
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Image Credit: Dave E., taken in Swaledale, IA
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Image Credit: Friend of Bill C., taken in Nashville TN
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A traveling hunter, the prickly Spined Assassin Bug looks just as ferocious as its method for dispatching prey.

Updated: 08/11/2023; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Spined Assassin Bugs are covered in pointy spines or spikes. The purpose of them may be to fend off predators. The ones on the front legs and the head may aid in subduing larger prey. These little spikes all over the body give the Spined Assassin bug a formidable appearance. This insect hides in plant foliage or on flowers, waiting for an insect to pass by it. The strong front legs grab the prey and a long fang at the mouth repeatedly stabs the insect to death with rapid piercing movements. If handled carelessly, this fang can prick human skin creating a mighty painful wound.

Look for this brown Spined Assassin Bugs on flowers in meadows, gardens, and flower beds. Turn over leaves carefully as they may be under them, hiding. Check inside blossoms, too. Little is known about this genus of Spider Wasp, but what is certain is that they attack spiders and are lightning-quick about it. They are rarely seen, but when they are, it is usually on blossoms, actively hunting for any type of spider that comes along. Wings are long black with a blue sheen on them. Depending on the species, the abdomen may be all black or red, or a combination of both colors.©InsectIdentification.org

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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: Sinea
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            Species: diadema

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Sinea diadema
Other Name(s): Crowned Assassin Bug, Spiny Assassin Bug, Common Brown Assassin Bug
Category: True Bug
Size (Adult; Length): 10mm to 15mm (0.39" to 0.59")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown
Descriptors: spiky; spiny; thorny; prickly; fang; biting

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 10mm (0.4in) and 15mm (0.6in)
Lo: 10mm
Md: 12.5mm
Hi: 15mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of 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 Spined Assassin Bug 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 Spined Assassin Bug. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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