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Thread-legged Assassin Bug (Emesaya brevipennis)

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

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Not a spider, and not a Walkingstick, the Thread-legged Assassin is a True Bug that is true to its name, stalking and killing insect prey in the quiet corners of outbuildings.

Updated: 10/03/2022; Authored By ; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Thread-legged Assassins are long, skinny, carnivorous insects. Thread-legged Assassins are hunters, and a long fang at the front of the face is used to stab insects, which are then consumed. With such a small profile, they are often overlooked as they wait in the corners of sheds, barns, and garages. They are easily mistaken for a Walkingstick, but they are not even in the same family. The stealthy behavior and long, spindly legs are so similar to Harvestmen (Daddy-Long-Legs) and Cellar spiders that it is common to think it is just another elongated species in one of those groups. But it is neither.

Thread-legged Assassins are part of a family of Assassin Bugs that includes Wheel Bugs, Bloodsucking Conenoses, and Corsairs. This species is far thinner and more fragile than those relatives, but the lifestyles are similar, and its lower visibility is an advantage in areas with little plant cover. The six, needle-think legs and body are dark brown, but the whole insect may be covered with a fine silvery coating, making it appear almost gray or white. Wings are present, but short though that does not prevent it from flight. More often than not, it is seen grounded.
Look for Thread-legged Assassins tucked into interior and exterior corners of outbuildings. Check around beams, screens, soffits, and siding. They may be seen in or near a spider web where they may poach captured insect prey, or sometimes they eat the very spider that created it. In more wild habitats, they can be seen waiting on branches and tree trunks for passing insects.©InsectIdentification.org

Known Diet of the Thread-Legged-Assassin-Bug-Emesaya-brevipennis

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hemiptera
        Family: Reduviidae
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          Genus: Emesaya
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            Species: brevipennis

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Emesaya brevipennis
Category: True Bug
Size (Adult; Length): 33mm to 37mm (1.29" to 1.45")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; silver; gray; white
Descriptors: thin; walkingstick; long legs; slow; spider-like; silvery; powdery

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 33mm (1.3in) and 37mm (1.5in)
Lo: 33mm
Md: 35mm
Hi: 37mm

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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