Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Family Reduviidae - Assassin Bugs

Black Corsair - Melanolestes picipes? - Melanolestes picipes Eggs? (hatched) - Zelus linty bug - Reduvius personatus Assassin - Sinea Bug on Goldenrod Two - Zelus renardii Jagged Ambush Bug Kills Least Skipper? - Phymata among the elders - Phymata Assassin  - Sinea diadema
Classification
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
Numbers
184 spp. in ~50 genera in our area(3); second largest heteropteran family, with close to 7,000 spp. in almost 1,000 genera worldwide(4), arranged in 25 subfamilies(5)
Overview of our fauna based on the classification synopsis prepared by Dan Swanson
Taxa not yet in the guide are marked (*)
Family REDUVIIDAE
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
Size
5-40 mm
Identification
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.
Key to Florida species in(6)
Range
worldwide and throughout NA, much more diverse in warmer climates
Habitat
see(7)
Season
see(7)(8)
Food
Most prey on arthropods; Triatominae suck blood(3)
Remarks
Many species can inflict a painful bite on humans if handled, so it's wise to avoid touching them. If one lands or is seen on your body, brush it or flick it off with a sideways motion. Do not slap or swat it because it will almost certainly bite if you try to crush it.
Internet References
Reduviidae of Texas - Mike Quinn, 2017
Works Cited
1.Cladistic analysis of Reduviidae (Heteroptera: Cimicomorpha) based on morphological characters
Weirauch C. 2008. Systematic Entomology 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.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.
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.Weirauch C. (2008-2012) About assassin bugs
6.A Literature-based Key to REDUVIIDAE (Heteroptera) of Florida
7.Survey of the Reduviidae (Heteroptera) of southern Illinois, excluding the Phymatinae, with notes on biology
Hagerty A.M., McPherson J.E. 1999. The Great Lakes Entomologist 32: 133–160.
8.The assassin bugs of Michigan (Heteroptera: Reduviidae)
McPherson J.E. 1992. The Great Lakes Entomologist 25: 25–31.