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Western Corsair (Rasahus thoracicus)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Western Corsair

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Image Credit: Deborah S. taken in the Ironwood Forest National Monument, AZ
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One of the true corsairs, the Western Corsair is an efficient assassin that does its best work at night.

Updated: 01/06/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
A Western Corsair is a type of Assassin Bug, and it has a long fang or beak tucked under its ant-like head. This fang is used to stab insect prey, but if roughly handled by a human, it may use it to inflict a painful wound that can last for days. The long antennae bend close to the head. The orange-red color of the head and thorax distinguish it from other related Corsairs which have a black head and thorax. The front pair of legs is a bit thicker than the others. A large yellow dot sits in a black area on each wing. When both wings are closed over each other, the yellow dots align and look like a single spot. The sides of the abdomen are visible when wings are closed tightly like this, and a black and yellow checkered pattern can be seen on the slightly flared outer edges.

Its diet consists of a variety of other insects. It tends to remain out of sight during the day by hiding under stones, wood, and other cover. It comes out at night and may be attracted to lighting. Encounters between the Western Corsair and people are more likely to happen during twilight and dusk. Adults are most active from mid-summer through most of autumn.©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: Rasahus
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            Species: thoracicus

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Rasahus thoracicus
Category: True Bug
Size (Adult; Length): 16mm to 20mm (0.62" to 0.78")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: orange; black; yellow
Descriptors: orange spot; yellow dot; flying; painful; biting; checkered side; black and yellow sides; big biceps

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 16mm (0.6in) and 20mm (0.8in)
Lo: 16mm
Md: 18mm
Hi: 20mm

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 Western Corsair 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 Western Corsair. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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