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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Assassin Bug
An adult assassin bug
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Suborder: Heteroptera
Superfamily: Cimicomorpha
Family: Reduviidae
Latreille, 1807


Reduviidae (from the contained genus, Reduvius which comes from the Latin reduvia meaning hangnail or remnant) is a large, cosmopolitan family of predatory insects in the suborder Heteroptera. It includes assassin bugs (genera include Melanolestes, Platymeris, Psellipus, Rasahus, Reduvius, Rhiginia, Sinea, Triatoma, and Zelus), wheel bugs (Arilus cristatus), and thread-legged bugs (the subfamily Emesinae, including the genus Emesaya). There are about 7000 species altogether, making it one of the largest families in the Hemiptera.


Physical characteristics

A Zelus genus nymph from the Southeastern United States.

Adult insects often range from 4 to 40 mm. They most commonly have an elongated head with a distinct narrowed neck, long legs, and a prominent, segmented tube for feeding (rostrum). Most species are dark in color with hues of brown, black, red, or orange. The most distinctive feature of the family is that the tip of the rostrum fits into a groove in the prosternum, where it is rasped against ridges there (a stridulitrum) to produce sound, a tactic often used to intimidate predators. If harassment continues, they can use their rostrum to deliver a painful bite which in some species can be medically significant.


Assassin Bug (Gminatus australis) feeding

They use the long rostrum to inject a lethal saliva that liquefies the insides of the prey, which are then sucked out. The legs of some of these bugs are covered in tiny hairs that serve to make them sticky to hold onto their prey while they feed. The saliva is commonly effective at killing substantially larger prey than the bug itself. As nymphs, some species will cover and camouflage themselves with debris, or the remains of dead prey insects. Some species have been known to feed on cockroaches or bedbugs (in the case of the masked hunter) and are regarded in many locations as beneficial. Some people breed them as pets and for insect control.

Some assassin bug groups specialize on certain prey groups, such as ants (feather-legged bugs - Holoptilinae), termites, or diplopods (Ectrichodiinae).

Some blood-sucking species, particularly Triatoma spp. and other members of the subfamily Triatominae (e.g., Paratriatoma hirsuta) , are also known as kissing bugs due to their habit of biting humans in their sleep on the soft tissue of the lips and eyes; a number of these haematophagous species, located in Central and South America, are able to transmit a potentially fatal trypanosome disease known as Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis).


Current taxonomy is based on morphological characteristics. The first cladistic analysis based on molecular data (mitochondrial and nuclear ribosomla DNA) was published in 2009 and called into question the monophylogeny of some current groups, such as the emesinae.

See also

External links


  • Weirauch, Christiane & Munro, James B. 2009. Molecular phylogeny of the assassin bugs (Hemiptera: Reduviidae), based on mitochondrial and nuclear ribosomal genes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution: 53 (2009) 287–299


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:



  1. a taxonomic family, within superfamily Reduvioidea - the assasin bugs and similar insects
Wikispecies has information on:


See also

  • Apiomerinae
  • Bactrodinae
  • Centrocneminae
  • Cetherinae
  • Diaspidinae
  • Ectrichodiinae
  • Elasmodeminae
  • Emesinae
  • Hammacerinae
  • Harpactorinae
  • Holoptilinae
  • Peiratinae
  • Phonolibinae
  • Phymatinae
  • Physoderinae
  • Reduviinae
  • Rhabdocorinae
  • Rhaphidosominae
  • Saicinae
  • Salyavatinae
  • Sphaeridopinae
  • Stenopodainae
  • Tegeinae
  • Triatominae
  • Tribelocephalinae
  • Visayanocorinae


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Ecdysozoa
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Classis: Insecta
Cladus: Dicondylia
Cladus: Pterygota
Cladus: Metapterygota
Cladus: Neoptera
Cladus: Eumetabola
Cladus: Paraneoptera
Superordo: Condylognatha
Ordo: Hemiptera
Subordo: Heteroptera
Infraordo: Cimicomorpha
Superfamilia: Reduvioidea
Familia: Reduviidae
Subfamiliae: Apiomerinae - Bactrodinae - Centrocneminae - Cetherinae - Diaspidinae - Ectrichodiinae - Elasmodeminae - Emesinae - Hammacerinae - Harpactorinae - Holoptilinae - Peiratinae - Phonolibinae - Phymatinae - Physoderinae - Reduviinae - Rhabdocorinae - Rhaphidosominae - Saicinae - Salyavatinae - Sphaeridopinae - Stenopodainae - Tegeinae - Triatominae - Tribelocephalinae - Visayanocorinae


Reduviidae Latreille, 1807


  • Guilbert, E.; Chłond, D. 2009: The Reduviidae (Hemiptera: Heteroptera) of Ipassa Reserve (Makokou, Gabon). Zootaxa, 2157: 34-42. Abstract & excerpt
  • Weirauch, C. 2008: Cladistic analysis of Reduviidae (Heteroptera: Cimicomorpha) based on morphological characters. Systematic entomology, 33: 229-274.
  • Weirauch, C.; Munro, J.B. (in press): Molecular phylogeny of the assassin bugs (Hemiptera: Reduviidae), based on mitochondrial and nuclear ribosomal genes. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2009.05.039


Vernacular names

English: Assassin bugs
日本語: サシガメ科
Suomi: Petoluteet
中文: 獵蝽科
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Category:Reduviidae on Wikimedia Commons.


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