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January 11, 2022

This blog site has featured many articles about Hemipterans, an order of insects that includes cicadas, psyllids and various other types of ‘bugs’. Amongst other things these insects are characterised by having sucking mouthparts known as rostrums. The rostrum is capable of piercing and consists of two tubes. One facilitates the injection of saliva into a food source. The saliva contains enzymes that dissolve cellular material. The second tube allows the insect to suck out the pre-digested liquid.

Whereas psyllids, gum-leaf hoppers, spittlebugs and the like suck sap from plants there is a group of Hemipterans that are predatory and feed on other invertebrates. The Orange Assassin Bug (Gminatus australis) is one such creature. When ‘at rest’ the rostrum is tucked underneath the body (see picture above).  

The Assassin Bug is an ambush predator that grabs passing prey with its front legs before stabbing it with its rostrum, injecting enzymes and sucking out the liquid food. The legs are haired to help grip the prey. The unlucky victim pictured above is a Horned Treehopper (Ceraon sp.).

Interestingly both predator and prey are Hemipterans. I guess ‘Who lives by the rostrum, dies by the rostrum’.

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