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Assassin Bugs – Captive Care and a Spider-Hunting Assassin – Part 2

Assassin BugPlease see Part 1 of this article to learn about Assassin Bugs that lure prey by tricking spiders and termites.

Commercially Available Species

West Africa’s White-Spotted Assassin Bug (Platymeris biguttatus) and the Red-Spotted Assassin (P. rhadamanthus) of East Africa are sometimes offered for sale in the USA and are well-established in private and public insect collections.

Warning: All Assassin Bugs can administer a painful bite with their sharp proboscis, or rostrum.  As infection and an allergic reaction to their venom are distinct possibilities, they should only be kept by well-experienced adults.  These and other species can also spray their venom, so protective eyewear is a must.  All Assassin Bugs, including the US natives, should be handled only with forceps.   Read More »

Assassin Bugs – Captive Care and Notes on Spider-Hunting Assassins – Part 1

Assassin BugAssassin Bugs, while not the best known of invertebrate pets, are actually quite popular with insect specialists and in public collections.  I began working with 2 African species in the early 80’s, and soon built up a collection of native forms as well.  Recent studies at Australia’s Macquarie University have revealed that one Assassin Bug captures spiders by tweaking their webs in imitation of a trapped insect.  I’ll cover the care of some commercially available Assassin Bugs in Part 2.

Hunting the Hunters

Assassin Bugs are predatory insects of the Order Hemiptera (insects with piercing mouthparts).  Most lie in wait for invertebrates to stray within reach, others feed upon blood, and a few employ elaborate ruses in order to trick their prey within striking range.  Read More »

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