Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
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Family Reduviidae - Assassin Bugs

Wheel Bug - Arilus cristatus Wheel Bug Egg Case? Ambush bug - Phymata americana Assassin preying on Ammophila - Apiomerus longispinis Interesting insect found under log - Apiomerus Assassin Bug on Beavertail Cactus Flower - Apiomerus cazieri Pselliopus barberi Male, Rasahus thoracicus? - Rasahus thoracicus - male
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hemiptera (True Bugs, Cicadas, Hoppers, Aphids and Allies)
Suborder Heteroptera (True Bugs)
Infraorder Cimicomorpha
Family Reduviidae (Assassin Bugs)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Cladistic analysis of the family and status of higher taxa discussed in(1); world fauna catalogued in(2)
Explanation of Names
Reduviidae Latreille 1807
195 spp. in 55 genera in 11 subfamilies in our area (Swanson, updated from (3)); second largest heteropteran family, with close to 7,000 spp. in almost 1,000 genera worldwide(4), arranged in 25 subfamilies & 28 tribes(5)(6)
Overview of our fauna based on the classification synopsis prepared by Dan Swanson
Taxa not yet in the guide are marked (*)
Subfamily Ectrichodiinae
Genus Rhiginia

Tribe Emesini

Genus Ploiaria

Genera *Emesopsis, Empicoris

Subfamily Bactrodinae
Genus Bactrodes

Subfamily Harpactorinae
Tribe Apiomerini (sometimes treated as Subfamily Apiomerinae)
Genus Apiomerus

Subfamily Microtominae

Subfamily Peiratinae (the "pirates", or "corsairs")

Subfamily Phymatinae - Ambush Bugs (formerly Family Phymatidae)

Tribe Phymatini

Subfamily Reduviinae

Subfamily Saicinae
Genera Oncerotrachelus, Pseudosaica, Saica, *Tagalis

Subfamily Stenopodainae

Subfamily Triatominae
5-40 mm
Short three-segmented beak used for stabbing prey. Beak folds into groove in prosternum. Head typically constricted behind the eyes, giving a neck-like appearance. Antennae long, thin, not clubbed.
Keys to species: Alabama(7) • Florida(8) • Virginia(9)
key to suprageneric taxa of the world in (5)
worldwide and throughout NA, much more diverse in warmer climates
Most prey on arthropods; Triatominae suck blood(12)
They inject a potent salivary enzyme that liquifies the internal tissues of their prey.(13)
Life Cycle
Many species can inflict a painful bite if handled. If one lands on you, brush or flick it off, do not slap/swat.
Internet References
Reduviidae of Texas (Quinn 2017)
Works Cited
1.Cladistic analysis of Reduviidae (Heteroptera: Cimicomorpha) based on morphological characters
Weirauch C. 2008. Syst. Entomol. 33: 229‒274.
2.Systematic catalogue of the Reduviidae of the world (Insecta: Heteroptera)
Maldonado Capriles J. 1990. University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, x+694 pp.
3.Catalog of the Heteroptera, or True Bugs of Canada and the Continental United States
Thomas J. Henry, Richard C. Froeschner. 1988. Brill Academic Publishers.
4.Biodiversity of the Heteroptera
Henry T.J. 2009. In: Foottit R.G., Adler P.H., eds. Insect biodiversity: Science and society. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell: 223−263.
5.An Illustrated Identification Key to Assassin Bug Subfamilies and Tribes (Hemiptera: Reduviidae)
C. Weirauch, ... 2014. Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification .
6.Weirauch C. (2008-2012) About assassin bugs
7.The Reduviidae (Hemiptera: Heteroptera) of Alabama, with a morphological key to species
Clem C.S., Swanson D.R., Ray C.H. 2019. Zootaxa 4688: 151–198.
8.A Literature-based Key to REDUVIIDAE (Heteroptera) of Florida
9.Assassin Bugs of Virginia (Heteroptera: Reduviidae)
Hoffman R.L. 2006. The Insects of Virginia 15: vi+73 pp.
10.Survey of the Reduviidae (Heteroptera) of southern Illinois, excluding the Phymatinae, with notes on biology
Hagerty A.M., McPherson J.E. 1999. Great Lakes Entomol. 32: 133–160.
11.The assassin bugs of Michigan (Heteroptera: Reduviidae)
McPherson J.E. 1992. The Great Lakes Entomologist 25: 25–31.
12.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.
13.Hidden Company that Trees Keep: Life from Treetops to Root Tips
James B. Nardi. 2023. Princeton University Press.