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Subfamily Peiratinae - Corsairs

Western Corsair Bug - Rasahus thoracicus Assassin - Melanolestes picipes - female ?Black corsair - Melanolestes picipes Sirthenea carinata black assassin bug - Melanolestes picipes Rasahus hamatus? - Rasahus hamatus AB - Melanolestes picipes - male Western Corsair - Rasahus thoracicus
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)
Subfamily Peiratinae (Corsairs)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Piratinae
Explanation of Names
Peiratinae Amyot & Serville 1843; type genus: Peirates (Old World)
Numbers
medium-sized subfamily with 350 spp. in 33 genera worldwide, 70 spp. in 10 genera in the New World(1); 7 spp. in 3 genera north of Mexico(2)
Size
10-25 mm
Identification
Most easily diagnosed by the transverse sulcus being set distinctly behind the middle of the pronotum.
Range
Worldwide; in the New World, restricted to the Nearctic and Neotropica(1); one species transcontinental, others mostly southern
Habitat
Often found on the ground under rocks or at the base of grasses. They are active hunters, preferring to chase and pounce on their prey. Some species are attracted to lights at night.
Food
Many are probably generalist feeders on various different arthropods but it is thought that some Melanolestes have a preference for melolonthine scarabs and Sirthenea prefer mole crickets.
Remarks
Members of this subfamily are known for their notoriously painful bites.
Adult females of several species may be brachypterous and can be mistaken for nymphs: