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Genus Zelus

Bug - Zelus luridus - female Zelus luridus ID for a bug on buckwheat? - Zelus tetracanthus Assassin Bug Nymph - Zelus luridus bug on window screen - Zelus renardii Zelus longipes nymph ? - Zelus longipes Id help needed - assassin bug - Zelus luridus Zelus luridus? - Zelus luridus
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
Worldwide revision in(1); review of North American taxa (US, Canada, northern Mexico) in(2)
Explanation of Names
Zelus Fabricius 1803
in Greek mythology, Zelos (ζελος, Latinized, Zelus) was a minor deity, personifying zeal, rivalry and anger
7 spp. in 3 subgenera in our area(3)(4), 71 spp. total(1)
14-21 mm
Telling apart Z. renardii, Z. cervicalis, & Z. tetracanthus from images alone may be problematic, but see discussion here(5)
keys to spp. in Hart (1986)(2)
New World(6), incl. most of NA (except n. Rockies)(3)
Prey on a wide range of insects, e.g. boll weevils and leafhoppers, but 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(6)
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(6)
NB: info on Z. exsanguis in two popular sources(4)(7) actually refers to Z. luridus (D.R. Swanson, pers. comm. to =v= 13.iii.2015)
Print References
Weirauch, C. (2006). Observations on the sticky trap predator Zelus luridus Stal (Heteroptera, Reduviidae, Harpactorinae), with the description of a novel gland associated with the female genitalia. Denisia 19: 1169–1180. (Full Text)
Weirauch, C. , Alvarez, C. & Zhang, G. (2012). Zelus renardii and Z. tetracanthus (Hemiptera: Reduviidae): Biological Attributes and the Potential for Dispersal in Two Assassin Bug Species. Florida Entomologist 95(3):641-649. (Full Text)
Zhang, G., & Weirauch, C. (2013). Sticky predators: A comparative study of sticky glands in harpactorine assassin bugs (Insecta: Hemiptera: Reduviidae). Acta Zoologica 94(1):1-10
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.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.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.
5.Austin bug collection
6.Taxonomic revision of Zelus Fabricius
7.How to Know the True Bugs
Slater, James A., and Baranowski, Richard M. 1978. Wm. C. Brown Company.