I tried to think of a subject for my next A-Z and then came up with the idea of INSECTS. There are lots of very interesting creatures out there of which I know very little. I am going to learn more about the insect world and hope you will join me so we can all increase our knowledge of their small world. There will be some we've perhaps never heard of (such as this first one) and other that are commonly known but are still interesting.
This very first insect Pristhesancus plagipennis belongs to the Order Hemiptera and the family Reduvidae. This bug is said to have a very painful bite. *At first I couldn't find a lot of information about this particular insect but I then discovered a website with a lot of information that is quite gruesome but also interesting. (see below)
It is a medium to large sized bug with a large curved mouth part for piercing and sucking. It has long legs. Adult bugs are brown in colour with transparent wings. Nymphs are black with orange abdomens when they first emerge from the egg.
They go through several instars (or moults) before becoming winged adults. (The term 'instar' means the developmental stages of the larval or nymphal forms).
These insects grow up to 23mm (0.9 ins) in length and inhabits the foliage of plants. They ambush insects and impale them with their spiky mouthpart (called a rostrum). It pumps enzyme into the prey to dissolve tissue and sucks out the liquid.
Females lay clusters of long reddish brown eggs. The nymphs go through five moults to become adults.
Assassin bugs hatching out. At this first stage (moult) they are about 5mm in length :
*From the www.gimodo.com.au website I learned that this unbelievable assassin bug wears its victims' corpses as armour!!
After it's made it's kill, the assassin bug - which calls Malaysia home, but is also well known in other parts of the world - injects its victims with a special enzyme that dissolves and soften its guts so they can be easily sucked out. Once all that's left is the insect's empty shell, the assassin bug attaches those exoskeletons to its back using a sticky secretion, piling them high to create a thick layer of protective armour that also serves to confuse its enemies.
It may seem a ridiculous stunt. but imagine if you were fighting a war and saw a soldier coming at you covered in dead bodies...you probably wouldn't know what on earth was going on would you?
I don't think this is a creature I would welcome in my garden as it is said to be a predator of the honey bee and we need bees for pollination. I've never seen this creature and hope I never do. It may be that people living in our eastern states may have come across it in their gardens. Would be interested to know if you have.