Red and Black Beetle from Kauai
May 15, 2010
While working in the Alakai Swamp in Kauai, I came across this beetle. It was hanging out on a ginger plant leaf sometime midday in late April.
This is an Assassin Bug in the family Reduviidae, and its general shape and bright coloration incline us to believe it is a species of Bee Assassin in the genus Apiomeris. BugGuide has images of several North American species, but none exhibit the unusual coloration of your specimen. Alas, the Insects of Hawaii website does not have any members of the genus Apiomeris pictured, and indeed, it has but one unidentified Assassin Bug in its archives, a curious gap in insect diversity that we believe is more likely due to an oversight of the website than to an actual reflection on the arthropod fauna on the islands. The Termite Assassin Bug of Australia, Tegea atropicta, which is pictured on the Brisbane Insect website, has similar coloration, but we do not think it is the same species.
Thank you so much! I went ahead an emailed Entomologist Frank Howarth from the Hawaii Biological Survey and this was his reply:
The bug is the assassin bug, Haematoloecha rubescens Distant, 1883 (family Reduviidae). This species arrived in Hawaii in the 1970s from tropical Asia probably as a stowaway. It is apparently a specialist predator of millipedes, especially the alien flat-back millipedes (family Paradoxosomatidae).