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

Species Melanolestes picipes - Black Corsair

Black Corsair - Melanolestes picipes? - Melanolestes picipes Black Corsair - Melanolestes picipes - male Melanolestes picipes - male Black Corsair - Melanolestes picipes unknown Hemipteran - Melanolestes picipes Assassin Bug nymph? - Melanolestes picipes Melanolestes picipes - female Black Corsair - Melanolestes picipes
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)
Genus Melanolestes
Species picipes (Black Corsair)
Other Common Names
Black May Beetle-eater
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Melanolestes abdominalis (Herrich-Schäffer 1846); Reduvius pungens LeConte 1856
Explanation of Names
Melanolestes picipes (Herrich-Schaeffer 1846)
picipes = 'pitch-black feet'
12-20 mm(1)
Males macropterous (fully winged); female wings variable, often micropterous
QC & most of the US except northwest (QC-FL to MN-SD-UT-CA) to Brazil(1)
Hibernates in woods and fields beneath logs. In spring & summer, found beneath stones, loose bark, piles of weeds, and other cover(2)
Sometimes attracted to lights.
Other insects. Reported to feed on May Beetles, Phyllophaga, attacking them from behind, holding on with spongy pads on legs.
Life Cycle
Females often flightless, tend to live under logs, stones, etc. Adults overwinter under logs, in piles of weeds, etc. Males seen in open in spring. During mating, males use spongy pads on legs to mount females. Female stridulates with beak during mating. Eggs laid singly into soil beneath rocks. Males come to lights in summer.
Can inflict a painful bite but does not feed on blood and does not transmit diseases.
Works Cited
1.Taxonomic status of Melanolestes picipes and M. abdominalis (Heteroptera: Reduviidae)
McPherson J.E., Keffer S.L., Taylor S.J. 1992. Fla. Entomol. 74: 396-403.
2.Heteroptera of Eastern North America
W.S. Blatchley. 1926. The Nature Publishing Company.