13mm, green, armored tank/assassin bug-like body, with mantid forelimbs and a turtle head.
August 26, 2009
Hello again Bugman!,
Love your site.
I was looking over a stand of ragweed today, admiring all the activity, when I noticed there was a dead fly on one flowerheads, so I began looking deeper, in between the flowers, for a crab spider or something like that…and found this instead. It was scrunched down between flowertops as if lying in ambush. When I spread the flowers apart, it came walking out and stepped right up onto my finger. Didn’t seem to mind me photoing it numerous times, and even let me move it to the B-B-Q grill for better contrast. It only flied away when I tried to move it back to the ragweed. It’s about the same length as my fingernail (included for scale). I’ve never seen one of these before, but it does bear strong resemblance to the assassin bugs, except for it’s head, which is entirely different, looking more like a sea turtle from a Pixar movie. It has forelimbs like a mantid, or possibly a tiny cicada. It was also pretty hard to the touch like a stinkbug, and kind of weighty for it’s t iny size.
Mostly translucent green with a dark band across it’s abdomen, and a hard bony shell of a thorax which has a couple of knobs that protrude forward and up much higher than it’s head.
In a word, handsome.
Thanks much, Jeff Volpert
Topeka, Kansas, USA
It would seem that Ambush Bug is an apt common name for your insect based on your letter. Recently Ambush Bugs have been downgraded from a family to becoming a subfamily status of the Assassin Bugs, Phymatinae. Your specimen is one of the Jagged Ambush Bugs in the genus Phymata.