Assassin Bug at the L-28 Levee
WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY – L-28 INTERCEPTOR LEVEE, COLLIER COUNTY, FL
This photograph, taken at the L-28 Interceptor Levee in Collier County, Florida, is of a colorful black and red Assassin Bug. Camera gear used to photograph this Assassin Bug was a Nikon D90 camera body attached to a Nikkor 60mm 2.8 lens and a macro light ring.
They are predatory and use their long rostrum to inject a lethal saliva that liquefies the insides of the prey, which are then sucked out. The saliva contains enzymes that predigest the tissues they swallow. This process is generally referred to as extra-oral digestion, or EOD. The saliva is commonly effective at killing prey substantially larger than the bug itself.
The legs of some Assassin Bugs have areas covered in tiny hairs that aid in holding onto their prey while they feed. Others, members of the subfamily Phymatinae in particular, have forelegs that resemble those of the praying mantis, and they catch and hold their prey in a similar way to mantids.