Assassin Bug

This assassin bug’s dark color made it easy to spot among the goldenrod flowers.

  I took picture after picture because of the low evening light and a breeze. The assassin bug didn’t much like that and kept moving around. Then I noticed it was feeding on prey. Assassin bugs wait patiently and ambush their prey. Its long beak then injects the victim with a lethal toxin that dissolves its insides. The assassin bug then sucks out the “juices.”

The assassin bug was feeding on a moth caterpillar, called a camouflaged looper (Snychlora aerata). These caterpillars attach small plant pieces to their body, so they blend in with their surroundings.

Since I wasn’t able to get a good picture of the caterpillar, I’m including one taken during a previous summer.

Isn’t it impressive … and convincing in its floral attire?  The caterpillars like open habitats and mostly composite flowers. Black-eyed susans and salvias are a favorite of theirs in my gardens.


10 responses to this post.

  1. Very clever tactics by both the assassin bug and the caterpillar!


  2. Posted by Therese on September 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Whoa!!!! How interesting!


  3. Wonderful images of nature!


  4. The assassin bug is interesting, but I find the caterpillar to be really cool. Nice shots.


    • Thanks. Those are cool caterpillars. That was the only one I saw this summer. The drought impacted plants, insects, etc. There’s more going on now than any other time this summer.


  5. I love assassin bugs! And I only wish I found camouflaged loopers more often. If you want, you can check out a poem I wrote about these bugs entitled “Assassins” ion my blog, Hillstead Nature Blog Thanks for your post and for this very nice blog, which brings together some really neat stuff.
    Diane Tucker
    Naturalist, Hillstead Museum


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