(24 November 2017) A common visitor of our gardens, the Assassin Bug most certainly honors its name: it is a fierce predator.
Assassin bugs use their proboscis (sort of mouth piece normally pointing backwards) to impale prey, like insects and spiders, and inject powerful saliva that turns the prey’s body contents to liquid. The bug then sucks up the juices through the proboscis, which acts like a straw.
Assassin bugs sometimes bite humans when provoked, their saliva causing intense pain, but the effects are usually localised and temporary. Some species are blood suckers rather than predators; other species are known as kissing bugs, because they tend to bite sleeping humans in the soft tissue around the lips and eyes. Ain’t they cute? There are more than 300 species of Australian assassin bugs in the Family Reduviidae in a variety of shapes and colours.
The Bee Killer Assassin Bug is a slow-moving predator that lurks among foliage and on flowers to ambush other insects as food, easily visible because it is relatively large: 25 mm. They go through several instars – or moults – before becoming winged adults.
The most detailed photo, on top, was taken on the veranda of my house. Not a very natural surrounding, but very stable and therefore excellent for photography. Time enough for a close up with the 60mm macro lens, f/13 (good depth of field) and 1/15 of a second shutter time.