assassin bug

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Related to assassin bug: kissing bug

assassin bug,

common name for members of the family Reduviidae, one of the largest and most varied groups belonging to the order Hemiptera (suborder Heteroptera). Assassin bugs are generally brownish to black, medium-sized to large insects, with heads that are elongate and narrow compared to the thorax. The raptorial front legs are used for grasping prey. Most assassin bugs are found on foliage, and some occasionally enter houses. The majority of species are predaceous on other insects, but a few are bloodsucking and will bite humans if carelessly handled. The bite of some species is painless, while the bite of others is extremely painful, resulting from a venom produced by the bug, the effect of which lasts for months. A painful biter is the common, black, wheel bug (Arilus cristatus), easily identified by the semicircular crest resembling a cogwheel on the top of its prothorax. Another is the masked hunter (Reduvius personatus), often found in houses where it preys on bedbugs and other insects. The adults often bite humans around the mouth, hence its other common name, the kissing bug. In the Southwest assassin bugs of the genus Triatoma are common. Called conenoses or Mexican bedbugs, they also invade houses and may bite humans. In Central and South America certain species of this genus are the vectors for a highly fatal trypanosometrypanosome
, microscopic, one-celled protozoan of the genus Trypanosoma, typically living as an active parasite in the bloodstream of a vertebrate; hundreds of species are known. A trypanosome is long and pointed and possesses a flagellum.
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 disease known as Chagas' diseaseChagas' disease,
disease of South and Central America caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. It usually affects children and young adults and is transmitted by the feces of infected insects, typically the assassin bug.
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. Assassin bugs are classified in the phylum ArthropodaArthropoda
[Gr.,=jointed feet], largest and most diverse animal phylum. The arthropods include crustaceans, insects, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, scorpions, and the extinct trilobites.
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, class Insecta, order Hemiptera, family Reduviidae.
References in periodicals archive ?
Molecular phylogeny of the assassin bugs (Hemiptera: Reduviidae), based on mitochondrial and nuclear ribosomal genes.
When Manica and Lisa Thomas, also of Cambridge, checked on male assassin bugs as they stood guard over their broods, the researchers never found one out foraging for food.
It includes bed bugs, assassin bugs, damsel bugs, and lace bugs.
Both the videotape and the posters revealed their accurate understanding of the physical attributes and behaviors of the assassin bug.
To document predatory behaviors, an unfed assassin bug that had been starved for 3 d was placed under a Canon XL2 3CCD Mini DV video camcorder (Canon USA) in a petri dish, 10 adult Drosophila melanogaster were introduced simultaneously into the dish, and behaviors of the Zelus specimens were recorded on digital videocassettes (Mini DV; DVM60 ME).
Assassin bugs aren't picky: They will stab, poison and devour a wide range of garden pests, including caterpillars, leafhoppers and bean beetles.
With around 90 genera and almost 1,000 described species (Maldonaldo, 1990; Reidi, 2007), the Emesinae are a cosmopolitan subfamily of assassin bug (Heteroptera: Reduviidae), characterised by their elongate and gracile body, legs, and antennae.
Although we seldom think of it as such, a tree swallow swooping midair on a midge, or a meadowlark tearing apart a grasshopper is as predaceous as the more obvious eating habits of assassin bug, jumping spider, or ambush bug.
Insects on show will include the preying mantis, redspotted assassin bug, giant centipede and Mexican red kneed tarantula.
Species that use decoration usually cover the body first to protect their vital organs, like the larvae of many caddisfly species that build hard cases from whatever material they find, or assassin bugs who have the odd habit of carrying a shield of ant carcasses -- their number one prey -- to avoid being eaten by predators.
In assassin bugs, males also accumulate eggs from many females, like rheas.