Assassin Bugs

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Mar 28, 2008
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Mike
Ever wonder where Sci-Fi and Horror movie writers get their ideas?

We discovered this egg cluster back in February and I've been watching it every day since. It has probably been there since last Fall. These are a type of Assassin Bug. Most likely Wheel Bug (Arilus Sp.). While on my normal morning stroll Tuesday, I noticed the first two black bugs. I was carrying my D850 and 200-500 f5.6 and knew that would not do so I went back for a macro, flash and tripod. For about the next hour, I took almost 500 frames, including a failed time lapse (flash batteries died) and several under-exposed videos. These are the best I managed under somewhat windy conditions and shooting in an awkward position. A bit image heavy.

D850, 105 f2.8 Macro, SB-800 Flash (various settings)

1. First two

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2. You can see one of the cell caps that popped off to the lower right.

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3.

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4. Happy Birthday!

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5. A friend stopped by.

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6. Next!

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7. About to be a situation.

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8.

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9.

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10. Gonna get crowded.

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11. Pinky thumbnail for scale....plus a High Five!

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12. I went back about six hours later.

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Most are still hanging around the egg cluster. I hope to see them develop into a more recognizable species.

Thanks for looking!
 
Joined
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SW Virginia
This is very interesting, Mike, and you have documented it well. It would be interesting to see an overview photo that shows where the nest is and its surroundings.
 

NCV

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Jan 31, 2019
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Italy
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Nigel
I enjoyed this set of pictures.

But I am glad it was you not me that took them.
 
Joined
Mar 28, 2008
Messages
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OH - IO
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Mike
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #7
This is very interesting, Mike, and you have documented it well. It would be interesting to see an overview photo that shows where the nest is and its surroundings.
Thanks Jim.

This egg cluster is on a small Musclewood tree or American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana). It is actually right above another cluster from last season. I'm not sure of any particular relationship between the two or if this species prefers this species of tree as a host plant. The tree is located in a mature, wet, swamp forest with mature Tulip trees, Maples, Oaks, young Ash and many smaller trees and shrub varieties. Assassin Bugs are common and widespread in our area and the eastern half of the US. Even with that, this is the first cluster I have found. And to happen upon it just as they are beginning to emerge and being able to document it was pure luck. I am also monitoring three Praying Mantis egg sacks. Maybe I'll get lucky with one of those also. I do believe that being out there often and for longer periods of time increases my luck.
I enjoyed this set of pictures.

But I am glad it was you not me that took them.
Thanks Nigel. They're pretty much harmless to humans unless handled improperly. Not so much to other insects. I've been told they can inflict a very painful "bite."
 
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