Ambush

Head and prothorax of Assassin Bug

Assassin bugs are generally brownish to black and 10-25 mm. Many are fairly common. Most species occur on foliage, although a few sometimes enter houses. The majority are predaceous on other insects, but a small minority are bloodsucking. Many can inflict a painful bite.

Subfamily Emesinae (considered by some authorities to be a separate family, the Ploiariidae). These resemble small walking-sticks, and are called thread-legged bugs (see opp.). They are generally found in old buildings, cellars, and similar places. Most northern species are 30-35 mm., but many southern species are 5-10 mm.

DAMSEL BUGS Family Nabidae

Identification: Elongate-oval. Antennae usually 4-segmented (rarely, subfamily Prostemminae, 5-segmented). Beak generally 4-segmented. Ocelli present. Front femora slightly thickened. Membrane of FW, when developed, with a number of small cells around margin.

Most damsel bugs are yellowish brown and about 8 mm., the body somewhat narrowed anteriorly and the wings well developed; some are slightly larger and shining black, and a few of these have very short front wings that lack a membrane. Nabids are common insects and usually occur on low vegetation. They are predaceous.

BAT BUGS Family Polyctenidae Not illus.

Identification: Wingless, lacking eyes and ocelli, and ectoparasites of bats. 3.5-5.0 mm. Front legs short, femora 'thickened; middle and hind legs long and slender.

Two rare species of bat bugs occur in the U.S., 1 in Texas and the other in California.

LACE BUGS Family Tingidae

Identification: Body and wings with reticulate sculpturing. Pronotum has a triangular posterior extension over scutellum. Antennae and beak 4-segmented. Ocelli absent. Tarsi 1- or 2-segmented. Usually 5 mm. or less.

Most lace bugs are grayish and somewhat rectangular, with a hoodlike extension of the pronotum forward over the head and a lacelike pattern of ridges on the pronotum and wings. Other (less common) species are narrower, with ridges on dorsal side of body forming a finer network, and some lack the extension of the pronotum forward over the head. Lace bugs feed on the foliage of trees and shrubs, and sometimes cause extensive defoliation.

ASH-GRAY LEAF BUGS Family Piesmatidae

Identification: Small, gray, oval, mostly about 3 mm. Dorsal side of body with numerous small pits. Pronotum without a posterior extension over scutellum. Antennae and beak 4-segmented.

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