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TaxonomyBrowse
Info
ImagesLinksBooksData

Genus Zelus

Zelus luridus Stal - Zelus luridus Red Assassin Bug dining on a fly - Zelus longipes Assassin bug? - Zelus longipes Zelus sp? - Zelus luridus common assasin bug nymph - Zelus luridus Tan reduviid nymph - Zelus Assassin bug - Zelus renardii Assassin bug egg mass? - Zelus
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 Harpactorinae
Tribe Harpactorini
Genus Zelus
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
revised in (1) (subgenera no longer recognized); North American fauna (Canada to n. Mexico) reviewed in (2)
Explanation of Names
Zelus Fabricius 1803
in Greek mythology, Zelos was a minor deity, personifying zeal, rivalry and anger
Numbers
7 spp. in our area, >70 total(1)
Size
8-25 mm (most 11-18 mm)(1)
Identification
Telling apart Z. renardii, Z. cervicalis, & Z. tetracanthus from images alone may be problematic, but see discussion here(3)
key to our common spp. in (2)
Range
New World, mostly neotropical(1)
Food
wide range of insects; up to 40% of diet may consist of lepidopteran larvae including cotton bollworm, tobacco budworm, and pink cotton bollworm; beneficial predators, esp. in cotton, soybean, alfalfa crops and tree fruit(1)
Remarks
Predation strategy unique: the bugs secret sticky substances from unique dermal glands on front tibiae (a derived trait of Zelus?), which are smeared onto setae that resemble leaves of sundew(1)
NB: info on Z. exsanguis in two popular sources(4)(5) actually refers to Z. luridus (D.R. Swanson, pers. comm. to =v= 13.iii.2015)
Internet References
Works Cited
1.A taxonomic monograph of the assassin bug genus Zelus Fabricius (Hemiptera: Reduviidae): 71 species based on 10,000 specimens
Guanyang Zhang, Elwood R Hart, Christiane Weirauch. 2016. Biodiversity Data Journal 4: e8150 .
2.Genus Zelus Fabricius in the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico (Hemiptera: Reduviidae)
Hart E.R. 1986. Ann. Ent. Soc. Am. 79: 535-548.
3.Austin bug collection
4.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.
5.How to Know the True Bugs
Slater, James A., and Baranowski, Richard M. 1978. Wm. C. Brown Company.