November 8, 2009
In the Okavango Delta in Botswana we encountered this beetle in a lodge. Unable to identify – can you help?
Xaranna, Okavango Delta, Botswana, Africa
At least twice in the past, we have identified similar looking Assassin Bugs in the genus Platymeris. This one appears to be the Red Spot Assassin Bug, Platymeris rhadamanthus, based on online images and descriptions. Angelfire.com indicates: “Platymeris rhadamanthus (Red Spot Assassin Bug) is the least aggressive and smallest of the three pet species. It is still a very large African species capable of taking down huge arthropod prey many times its mass. The Red Spot Assassin has been kept for almost a decade but still can be hard to find. Defensive reactions result only from physical attack. If grabbed (immobilized) in such a way that the rostrum can contact skin it will give a bite worse than a bee sting, insignificant but very uncomfortable. These are normally kept in colonies with dozens of individuals at varying ages. This species is less prone to cannibalism than the other two. Egg to adult takes six to nine months and adults continue to live another two years. Eggs are dropped in the dirt.“ A close relative is known as the Mombo or Orange Spotted Assassin Bug, an even larger species. The American Tarantula Society Discussion Board has some gorgeous images of the Mombo.