Spined Assassin Bugs

2013 February 13

We did another insect presentation at the Portage Lake Public Library on August 23, 2012, and to prepare for it we went out the previous evening with a sweep-net and a couple of insect cages to round up a bunch of random bugs from the tall grass. Caught a lot of stuff, too. Including several dozen of these predatory bugs:

How do I know they were predatory, you ask? Well, because we caught a number of caterpillars too, and we saw some of these bugs killing and sucking the juices out of said caterpillars (which I unfortunately didn’t get pictures of. Sorry). Also, when Rosie insisted on handling them, one of them bit her[1].

They appear to be Spined Assassin Bugs, Sinea diademata. They could also be the related Spiny Assassin Bugs, Sinea spinipes, but those don’t look quite as spiny on the pronotum (the shield-like structure just behind the head)

At any rate, these were obviously adults, because we found one pair that was busy mating.

Even though their forelegs are adapted for grasping other insects, he appears to be mainly holding on to her with his middle pair of legs. This could be because the spines on his forelegs could injure her if he used them, or it might just be that they are pointing in the wrong direction to grasp her. I also kind of suspect that they have a hard-wired reflex to eat anything that they grab with their forelegs, and for him to eat her would be pretty counter-productive.

So, anyway, with that shot of mating insects, I’d just like to wish everybody a happy Valentine’s Day tomorrow. And remember, don’t eat your partner!

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[1] It bit her on the finger. It obviously hurt, because she cried, but later she said “I like bug bites!” That might have just been because I gave her a popsicle after she got bitten, though. It wasn’t too serious, because just a few minutes later it didn’t even leave a mark.

3 Responses leave one →
  1. Carole permalink
    February 13, 2013

    I read that the proboscis on a predatory bug is curved away from the body while a plant sucking bug such as a stink bug hold is flat to the body.

  2. February 14, 2013

    One feature I’ve seen recently in a predatory stink-bug is that the proboscis is articulated, kind of like an arm. I think that the predatory bugs probably have a lot more variation in their proboscis than the plant-juice suckers.

  3. NRG permalink
    February 14, 2013

    Happy Valentines to you also.

    Please forgive me, but I will make my own dining decisions. ;)

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