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Bee Assassin

Apiomerus flaviventris


Apiomerus flaviventris photo © by Michael Plagens

This adult specimen was observed along Camp Creek, Maricopa Co., Arizona. August, 2008. As prey, it has taken an immature Tree Cricket -- Oecanthus sp.

Reduviidae -- Assasin Bug Family

This brightly colored predator of bees and other flower visitors can deliver a painful bite if mishandled. The colors are likely a warning to birds or others that might be tempted to turn the tables on this predator.

This insect, a true bug in the family Reduviidae, is fairly common on flowering shrubs by mid to late summer in the Southwestern United States and Mexico. It is between two and three centimeters in length. As a true bug, it has piercing-sucking mouthparts and does not take solid food. Instead, rather like a spider, it injects digestive enzymes into its prey and then sucks the liquefied contents back into its crop. While the bug is actually feeding it cannot easily bite - I found that the individual at left was wary and intent on fleeing my camera.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 5 September 2008, updated 20 February 2012