Assassin Bug

On a recent walk, I stopped to admire the drying blooms of Queen Anne’s Lace. I love the way the blossom heads curl inward into lacy balls. I pulled one closer to take a quick photo when this insect popped from the center of the head. It’s an assassin bug (Pselliopus cinctus), a colorful true bug that dines on other insects.

It looks a bit like he has dressed early for Halloween as I see a mask on its back… the eyes, nose and wide opened mouth. Can you see the face?

It isn’t a fast moving bug but I made sure it didn’t crawl on me. It has a ‘beak,’ a weapon used to paralyze prey with a toxin, then suck the victim dry. That weapon can also pierce the human skin and inject a toxin. I have never been stabbed by an assassin bug but I keep a respectful distance.

It is not a nuisance in the garden and can be handy eliminating some naughty garden insects…. better than insecticides. When I see assassin bug in the garden, I do nothing. We coexist among the blooms.

The face disappears in this view but now you can admire its lovely striped legs and antennae.

IMG_5759Here is a great view from Wikimedia of the wicked ‘beak.’

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pselliopus_cinctus_UGA1366047.jpg

9 thoughts on “Assassin Bug

  1. Great post and photos! I have a client who bucks the trend and has asked us to leave the Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota) in her wildflower field, normally I’d have the crew deadhead it to prevent reseeding into the natives, nativars and “wildflowers by courtesy”. Next site visit I’ll check for assassin bugs – I’m sure her grandkids would get a kick out of them too!

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  2. Pingback: Could you love an insect? | Cool lady blog

  3. I love the little face on the back. I would have dropped that flower when he popped out though. He is beautiful but a bit scary looking too.

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