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Could you please identify this insect for me?
May 21, 2010
Hi, I took this photo in the Big Cypress area of the Florida Everglades. It was feeding on a ladybug. I was hoping that maybe you could identify this insect as I am not having any luck! Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Alan Hochman
Big Cypress area of the Florida Everglades

Milkweed Assassin Bug eats Ladybug

Dear Alan,
This predator is an Assassin Bug, probably in the genus Zelus, but we don’t know the species.  BugGuide indicates between 7 and 12 species in the genus Zelus in North America.  Your individual resembles the Milkweed Assassin Bug, Zelus logipes, but the photos of that species on BugGuide do not have the striped legs and antennae that are so distinctive in your photo.

Karl finds a match
Hi Daniel. I did a quick search and couldn’t find any other species that matches this pattern. The Bugguide has many pictures of Zelus longipes and a few of them do have the striped legs and antennae. The link below has a photo of a specimen from the Everglades that looks pretty much identical (slightly different pattern on the head and thorax). It is identified as Z. longipes but there is also an interesting exchange of comments about whether it is a color variant or a separate species. K
http://bugguide.net/node/view/93032/bgimage

Eric Eaton cites same link
Daniel:
It *is* a milkweed assassin bug, Zelus longipes, though you are not alone in being confused.  Check out this image and thread:
http://bugguide.net/node/view/93032/bgimage
I would not have known either, my friend.
Eric

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2 Responses to Milkweed Assassin Bug eats Ladybug

  1. kkroeker says:

    Hi Daniel. I did a quick search and couldn’t find any other species that matches this pattern. The Bugguide has many pictures of Zelus longipes and a few of them do have the striped legs and antennae. The link below has a photo of a specimen from the Everglades that looks pretty much identical (slightly different pattern on the head and thorax). It is identified as Z. longipes but there is also an interesting exchange of comments about whether it is a color variant or a separate species. K

    http://bugguide.net/node/view/93032/bgimage

  2. drswanny says:

    Yes, this is likely a color variant of Zelus longipes.

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