Location: Hillsborough, California
January 31, 2011 12:30 am
I put on a pair of rubber gloves sitting next to the laundry room sink to wash my dog. I thought I was having a ”charlie horse” on my hand (is that even possible?) and then it felt like someone was pushing a needle in my hand. I realized I was being bitten. I threw off the gloves and shook out the contents and this is what fell out? Can you please identify this creepy looking bug ?????? Is is at all dangerous???? I guess it’s not deadly since it happened on Friday (January 28, 2011) and I am still alive on Sunday. Will you inform me if you can identify it or do I have to keep checking the website? Thank you!!!!!
Signature: M. Better
Dear M. Better,
This is an Assassin Bug, most likely in the genus Zelus. They are beneficial predators, however, they have been known to bite humans, and as you indicate, the bite is quite painful. Most of our reports of bites result after accidental encounters like your own, or through careless handling. The insect bites with its piercing mouthparts that are used to suck fluids from the hapless insect and arthropod prey. Though painful, the bite is not considered dangerous.
Thanks for the quick response! I looked up the Assassin Bug, genus Zelus, on your website and saw a bug that was similar but didn’t have that dreadful looking hook of a mouth. Does that particular insect have a “hook” mouth? Is the “hook” the part that penetrates it’s victims? Is the insect able to point the hook straight forward to penetrate or is it always in the hook position? Thanks!
All Assassin Bugs have similar mouthparts. There is some degree of mobility in the organ.