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.
Kauai, HI

Bee Assassin, we believe

Hi Davi,
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:

Hi Amanda,
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).

7 Responses to Assassin Bug from Hawaii

  1. Jared Bernard says:

    I was just about to suggest Haematoloecha rubescens, having found one in Hilo, HI about ten years ago. I submitted that specimen to the Bishop Museum. The Hawaiian Terrestrial Arthropod Checklist only lists this species as being adventive on Oahu, but the most recent edition is 2002, I believe. Clearly it has spread out since the last surveys to at least the Big Island and Kauai. That’s too bad that it has infiltrated Alaka`i.

  2. assasinbug101 says:

    epic color found one this morning in my backyard. my favorite type of bug

  3. Laurel Shelton says:

    One of these beautiful bugs landed on my hand when I was gardening the other day in UpCountry Maui. Got a couple really good pictures. I do have a question are they poisonous

    • bugman says:

      To the best of our knowledge, they are not dangerous, though many Assassin Bugs are capable of delivering a painful bite.

  4. Steve says:

    I just saw one at Volcanoes National Park (hiking at Pu’u Hulu Hulu). It illuminated a red color and I thought that it was a Firefly of some type. I took a picture I’d like to share for confirmation…

  5. Dustjn says:

    Aloha gangy,
    I am looking for a few assassin bugs to start a communal enclosure. I am on Oahu contact me at

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