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Thread-legged Assassin Bug (Various spp.)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Thread-legged Assassin Bug

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This baffling bug has features typically seen in spiders, walkingsticks, and praying mantises in addition to its own kind's qualities.

Updated: 02/02/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Thread-legged Assassin bugs look like Walkingsticks thanks to their narrow bodies and extremely long legs. Their movements are slow, adding to the similarities, but Thread-legged Assassins are not herbivores. Their front legs are used for grabbing insect prey, and bend or curl, much like those of a Praying Mantis, but it is not in the same family. Like a spider, this type of Assassin Bug clings to webs (made by spider that is likely nearby). The back four legs are used to walk the fine silk threads, slowly and carefully. It waits patiently for the perfect moment to steal an insect meal from the resident arachnid.

There are various Tribes of Thread-legged Assassins Bugs, and they look similar to each other, yet different. Some are brown or red, or may have dark speckles, wider abdomens, or appear covered in silvery residue. They are stalking hunters that take advantage of a spider?s snare without becoming a victim to it themselves. Look for this beguiling insect in sheds, barns, and other outbuildings among the webs that are created in corners, on rafters and beams, and on ceilings.©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: Various
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            Species: spp.

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Various spp.
Category: True Bug
Size (Adult; Length): 3mm to 40mm (0.11" to 1.57")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; red; white; silver
Descriptors: skinny spider; praying mantis arms; thin; web; long legs

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 3mm (0.1in) and 40mm (1.6in)
Lo: 3mm
Md: 21.5mm
Hi: 40mm

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 Thread-legged 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 Thread-legged Assassin Bug. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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