mating milkweed assassin bugs
A couple of weeks ago, I was working in my garden in Charleston ,SC when I was stung by one of these critters. I had seen them around from time to time and was always fascinated by their appearance. They could easily have been “stars” in a Dr. Seuss book! And since I am not a native of the southern US, they were alien to me. The sting was perhaps the worst I have ever experienced in my 60+ years on the earth! When he/she stung me, the immediate pain was intense enough to make me crazy. I swatted at the critter, attached to the inside of my left upper arm, and it STUCK to me through three blows to it. After I dislodged it, I couldn’t find its corpse. But then I found this mating pair after a few days and snapped these shots so I could send them to an entomologist at Clemson University for purposes of identification. These are yours to use as you see fit.
Thanks for sending in your photo of mating Milkweed Assassin Bugs, Zelus longipes. As a point of clarification, they bite, not sting.