What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

mystery bug #1
Sat, Mar 7, 2009 at 6:39 PM
Greetings! And thanks in advance for your help with this. I first noticed this sort of bug after Hurricane Ivan blew through the Florida Panhandle a few years back. They are plentiful in the summer, eating my tomatoes, among other things. I noticed this one today. It has a long black proboscis tucked under its head, a bright red narrow body, and has white dots on its back. What a beautiful creature! I hope you can see the long slender black legs and antennae. In the side view, the proboscis is highlighted in the light and looks white, but it is black. the body length is approximately 1 cm, and width about 3 mm. I am curious if this bug changes color throughout its life cycle because I have seen bright orange ones as well. Thanks again- I am looking forward to hearing from you!
Miriam Craft
Gulf Breeze, Florida

Immature Milkweed Assassin Bug

Immature Milkweed Assassin Bug

Mystery bug #2
Sat, Mar 7, 2009 at 6:49 PM
Mystery bug #2
Here’s another one I saw this morning. This one is new to me. The picture shows iridescent wings in green and black, a bright orange and black body with long slender black legs and antennae. I got him on my glove, but couldn’t see if he had a proboscis before he flew away. I am also curious as to the life stages of this insect, and corresponding colors. Thanks again!
Miriam Craft
Gulf Breeze, Florida

Milkweed Assassin Bug

Milkweed Assassin Bug

Hi Miriam,
Both of your photos are the same species.  You have a flightless nymph and winged adult  Milkweed Assassin Bug, Zelus longipes, a predatory species that is capable of inflicting a painful bit if carelessly handled. Its coloration is quite distinctive and it is found in the Southern states. You may read more about the species on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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