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(assassin bugs), a family of insects of the order Hemiptera. The large and, less commonly, small insects have a short, thick proboscis. Despite their relatively long legs, assassin bugs move slowly. There are about 3,000 species, distributed in Europe, Africa, and North America. The USSR has about 90 species. The insects live in trees and shrubs, in the grass, on the ground, under rocks, and in the burrows of various mammals and birds. They also are found in houses and other man-made structures. Assassin bugs feed on various insects, killing them with a prick of the proboscis and then sucking the blood and soft tissues. Common inhabitants of human dwellings and other man-made structures are Ploearia domestica, which resembles a spider, and Reduvins personatus, a dark brown insect 16–19 mm long. These two insects prey upon flies and other household pests.