What are assassin bugs? Most members of the family are fairly easily recognizable; they have a relatively narrow neck, sturdy build, and a formidable curved proboscis. Large specimens should be handled with caution, if at all, because they sometimes defend themselves with a very painful stab from the proboscis.
What are assassin bugs? The family members are almost all predatory, except for a few blood-sucking species, some of which are important as disease vectors. About 7000 species have been described, in more than 20 recognized subfamilies, making it one of the largest families in the Hemiptera.
While members of most Hemiptera subfamilies have no common names other than assassin bugs, among the many subfamilies are a few with their own common names that are reasonably widely recognized, such as:
- Ambush bugs
- Thread-legged bugs
- Kissing bugs (or cone-headed bugs) – most species are blood-suckers and several are important disease vectors
- Wheel bugs
- Grass assassin bugs
Adult bugs range from roughly 12–36 mm, depending on the species. They most commonly have an elongated head with a distinct narrowed neck, long legs, and prominent, segmented, tubular mouthparts, most commonly called the proboscis. Some are bright in color with hues of brown, black, red, or orange.
When harassed, can deliver a painful stab with the proboscis, injecting venom or digestive juices. The effects can be intensely painful and the injection from some species may be medically significant.
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