What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Beetle identification
Hi bugman,
I was recently hiking with my fiancee and a few friends outside Todos Santos, Mexico (about an hour and a half north of Cabo San Lucas on the Baja Peninsula, Pacific side). At the top of our hike, my fiancee and I came across this fascinating beetle (image attached). The beetle consistently tracked and followed us, apparently attempting to either copulate with our appendages or hitch a ride. It would approach, I would step over it, and it would turn around and meander back toward me! At one point it climbed up my fiancee’s leg when we weren’t looking, and didn’t seem to do anything else. Later, we walked about 50′ away, and about ten minutes later it came strolling over and tried to climb up one of our friend’s legs. He brushed the beetle away, and it went and sat in the shadow of a rock. After we photographed the beetle, I watched it for a little bit to see what was up. I have a feeling it was simply trying to get to the highest point possible – we were on top of a desert hill, and it would climb to the top of a rock and lift itself a few millimeters, then turn and move around some more. I’ve never seen behavior like this from a beetle. I’ve perused your site now and the closest I found was the bee assassin beetle here , with a follow-up from BugGuide.net here . However, clearly these are similar but not the same. The assassin has a curved back beneath the wings, as well as the orange near the head; both these attributes are missing from my beetle. Do you have any idea what it could be? Thanks!!
Michael

Hi Michael,
Your specimen is definitely an Assassin Bug and not a beetle. We are concerned that it might be a Blood Sucking Conenose Bug or Kissing Bug, a known carrier of Chagas Disease. We will check with Eric Eaton to verify our suspicion.

Daniel,
Thanks for your rapid response! Please let me know as soon as possible if you can accurately identify it as a conenose or kissing bug. If it’s a potential carrier of Chagas’, I definitely would like my fiancee to get a blood test as the bug was on her for an unknown amount of time. Thanks!
Michael

Hi, Daniel:
Yes, it is a blood-sucking conenose, but the species Dipetalogaster maxima most likely. They are much larger than the familiar Triatoma species found north of the border. Poor thing must have been starving if it was chasing those folks in broad daylight. Seriously, though, they are indeed a potential vector of Chagas disease, so it is best to avoid them. Travelers to Latin America are advised to sleep under mosquito netting, and to inspect their beds thoroughly before entering them, especially in rural or remote areas.
Eric

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2 Responses to Blood Sucking Conenose Bug

  1. edgarburgos says:

    Hi my name is Roberto Burgos and i live in chicago il,is possible that this kind of bug can live in this area , and to get the point, my daugther of 12 years old, was bitten by one kind of bug, very close to the picture shown up here,and i’d like to know if this bug is a carrier of the chagas disiease and i have the pictures of this bug and i like to send it to you or post in this site but i don’t know how, please somebody can you help me out? It was night and my daughter was at the park with all the family. Nothing happened till we got back home. The when she was playing with the clay she got bitten. We had the bug in a little jar and we took her to the hospital. We showed the bug to the doctor but when they checked their bug database they said they didn’t recognize it. When it bit her she said that it was as if someone had lit a small flame of fire in the inside of her skin on the area where the bug bit her. We thought nothing of it until we saw what this bug could mean. Also is there a cure as long as it’s been less that a year since she was bit? thank you.

  2. drswanny says:

    I would agree with Eric that this is probably Dipetalogaster maxima.

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