What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

We returned to our Mt Washington Los Angeles offices this evening after going to see the wonderful new David Chronenberg film Eastern Promises, and we found this unusual Hemipteran under the light at the front door. It is not quite an inch long and is covered in dust much like the Masked Hunter. It is winged and has very short raptorial front legs. It flies if disturbed. We managed to get several images from several angles, but fine details are difficult to make out since the insect is covered in fibers. We can’t quite figure out if this is an Assassin Bug or one of the Damsel Bugs in the family Nabidae. Perhaps Eric Eaton can help solve this mystery.

Update (09/17/2007)
Dainel: Your assassin bug is one of the threadlegged assassins in the genus Stenolemus. I think they are specialized predators on spiders. Did not know they occured there, but will start looking for them now here in Arizona! There are some great images of cleaner Stenolemus on Bugguide.net.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

2 Responses to Damsel Bug or Assassin Bug??? Thread Legged Assassin Bug

  1. drswanny says:

    This is interesting in that Stenolemus species have not yet been reported from California, to my knowledge (although there is one image on BugGuide.net). Furthermore, there are two species known from United States with a distinctly petiolate pronotum: S. spiniventris and the more common S. lanipes. The former is known from Florida and Texas, I believe, whereas the latter is well known in the southeastern states west to Texas. I suspect this is probably S. lanipes, which will eventually be shown to occur transcontinentally at least in the southern United States.

  2. drswanny says:

    I forgot to mention that Stenolemus spiniventris also was reported from Arizona.

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