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Assassin Bug/Chinche Asesina



Assassin bugs are in the order of insects referred to as “true bugs” by biologists. Their colors vary among the thousands of species of Assassin Bugs, but all have a long, narrow head distinct from the wide body, long antennae, and nimble front legs good for grabbing other insects for food. Many have bright colors to warn predators that the bug is poisonous and not an easy meal. Found on the wall of my laundry room, near some plants, it was raining hard that afternoon.


A few species of assassin bug, in the subfamily of kissing bugs, can transmit Chagas’ Disease. The common name comes from the bug’s tendency to bite a sleeping human on the face. Parasites living inside the kissing bug can pass from the bug to the sleeping victim through the bite wound or through a membrane on the face. Over many years, this parasite will slowly cause detriment to the host that can eventually be fatal. One of the most harmful effects of Chagas’ Disease is chronic heart failure. Millions suffer from this disease every year from parts of Mexico to South America but the disease is not at all a widespread threat in Costa Rica. Areas of risk are almost always rural, and high-risk areas are often where human dwellings have thatched roofing or grass components.

1 Species ID Suggestions

tmvdh 2 years ago
Assassin Bug
Microtomus luctuosus

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tmvdh 2 years ago

PS: You should update the species name ;-)...

tmvdh 2 years ago

@Gilma: The two species differ in the colour of the legs (femurs). M. luctuosus does not have red parts. No, the species does not transmit Chagas desease.

Thank you so much tmvdh...what is the difference between Microtomus luctuosus and Microtomus purcis...Do you know? The more I read the more confuse I get..... Is this the transmitter of Chagas desease?

tmvdh 2 years ago

It's Microtomus luctuosus...

LaurenZarate 7 years ago

Amazing Assassin Gilma! This one is not a Triatomine (of Chagas' Disease). This one is a real Assassin, but it's color pattern is remarkably like a Triatomine. The subfamily Triatominae of the Reduviidae contain the several genera that feed on blood and transmit Trypanosoma cruzi through contact with their feces (not through the bite). They all have characteristically straight probosces, which this one does not. I'll keep looking too…… :)

Thank you so much bayucca, I spend so long finding the ID I gave it but I know you know better....I will edit again... : (

bayucca 8 years ago

It is not Apiomerus pictipes and I think it is not even an Apiomerus sp. anymore. If you check Apiomerus you may note a characteristic "bulb" behind the head, which your has not. I do not think it is Microtomus sp. either because of the colors of the femur, which is red or reddish/striped. I would leaf it as Assassin Bug, Reduviidae in the meanwhile and I will try to get a little bit closer in the meanwhile.
Not a bad match, but note the different "bulb", the broader yellow stripes at the margin in yours (compared at least what I can see from the one in the link) and the different base of the antennae.

Nice series!

Bayucca this is what I came with but it looks so much like the Microtomus purcis also, if it wasn't for the red femur!?

Thank you bayucca, will go on the links and see if it can be ID.

bayucca 8 years ago

Reduviidae, Assassin Bug. Reminds me of a Apiomerus sp., but I am not sure, markings at the margin looks different. Even more similar are Microtomus sp. but they have a reddish femur, so yours is probably not from this genus.

Alfaro, Provincia Alajuela, Costa Rica

Spotted on Oct 14, 2013
Submitted on Oct 15, 2013

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