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Bee-mimic Assassin Bug

Notocyrtus dorsalis


This was such an exciting find! When I first saw it from above (last picture), I thought it was some kind of bee. As it turns out, this species of Assassin bug imitates Meliponine bees. It has a huge expansion of the pronotum, which is probably hollow as in the treehoppers. It is also bee-like in having the abdomen and legs banded. It has two white horns protruding from the head above the insertion of the antennae. One cm in length. Family Reduviidae, Subfamily Harpactorinae.


Forested area, Km 11.5 on the highway between Tuxtla Gutierrez and San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.


"Remarkable examples of mimicry occur between certain groups of Hymenoptera and several taxa of Harpactorini. Species of Notocyrtus are recognized as mimics of meliponine bees, which they resemble mostly because of the angular and inflated pronotum. Two mimetic species pairs have so far been identified: Trigona fulviventris and Ptilotrigona lurida, as models of Notocyrtus dorsalis and N. colombianus, respectively". From Chapter 12: Assassin Bugs (Reduviidae excluding Triatominae by Gil-Santana, Forero & Weirauch in the book: True Bugs (Heteroptera) of the Neotropics (A. Panizzi & J. Grazia Editors). See also: where Felix Fleck also found this species in Veracruz, Mexico). (Notocyrtus dorsalis from Jalisco, Mexico)., with a different species of Notocyrtus from Brazil. (Notocyrtus dorsalis). (Notocyrtus dorsalis from Beliz). (Notocyrtus sp. from Colombia). (Notocyrtus dorsalis from Peru). (from Ecuador). (Notocyrtus from Panama). (Notocyrtus sp. from Brazil).

No species ID suggestions


LaurenZarate 7 months ago

Thank you to all the Rangers for Spotting of the Week, I am honored. Thank you Maria, Neil, Michael, Felix and Antonio!

Awesome series Lauren,congrats on the well deserved SOTW and thanks for sharing

Felix Fleck
Felix Fleck 7 months ago

That's so cool! Congrats.

Michael Strydom
Michael Strydom 7 months ago

Wonderful Shots Lauren. I always enjoy seeing what you find out there. Great bug hunting!!!

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 7 months ago

Well done, Lauren. Congrats on your much-deserved SOTW. This is a great spotting.

DanielePralong 7 months ago

Congratulations Lauren, you're on a roll! Your Bee-mimic Assassin Bug has been voted Spotting of the Week among what was another strong selection of candidates. Your great find of a rather strange insect, detailed photography, excellent notes and research work for similar spottings won you the vote.

"An impressive little insect that is not what it seems! This Bee-mimic Assassin Bug (Notocyrtus dorsalis) is our Spotting of the Week. Species of assassin bugs (family Reduviidae) in the genus Notocyrtus are recognized mimics of stingless bees (tribe Meliponini). This mimicry is enhanced by an expanded pronotum (a prominent plate-like structure that covers the thorax of some insects), well visible in this side shot. This species also has bee-like features such as banded abdomen and legs. Make sure to check the spotting for extra shots from different angles (the mimicry is most convincing when the bug is viewed from top) and informative notes by Lauren Zarate, including multiple links to Notocyrtus sp. observations on other platforms".



To all users:
This spotting was suggested to us by user Doren B. If you see a spotting you would like to see considered for Spotting of the Day or Spotting of the Week, don't hesitate to contact us at Don't forget to let us know why ;-)

Maria dB
Maria dB 7 months ago

What an unusual insect - it almost looks deformed, as if it has a hunchback. It must have been an exciting find, indeed!

LaurenZarate 7 months ago

Thanks Neil, it took a minute to realize what it was! And he really is formidable! I think it would be very scary to be insect sized!

LaurenZarate 7 months ago

Thank you Ashley for the nomination!

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 7 months ago

An amazing spotting, Lauren. It's no wonder you were excited to spot this. It looks like quite a formidable creature, I'm assuming to bees? Excellent notes too. Congrats on your nomination.

AshleyT 7 months ago

Your spotting has been nominated for the Spotting of the Week. The winner will be chosen by the Project Noah Rangers based on a combination of factors including: uniqueness of the shot, status of the organism (for example, rare or endangered), quality of the information provided in the habitat and description sections. There is a subjective element, of course; the spotting with the highest number of Ranger votes is chosen. Congratulations on being nominated!

LaurenZarate 7 months ago

Thank you Sergio and Antonio.

Awesome series Lauren,greatwork,congrats and thanks for sharing

Sergio Monteiro
Sergio Monteiro 7 months ago


Chiapas, Mexico

Lat: 16.73, Long: -92.93

Spotted on Jul 29, 2018
Submitted on Aug 1, 2018

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