Black and red Hemipteran
Location: Honolulu, HI
May 10, 2011 4:26 pm
Hello~ Long-time reader, first-time sender. I fancy myself a bit of an entomology geek, and usually I can ID things without much of a problem, but this little one is giving me a spot of trouble.
When my father called me out to find this odd bug outside, my first impression was a milkweed bug of some type, but I very quickly changed my mind upon getting out my field guides. I’ve seen Red-shouldered bugs around here before, but this is the first time I’ve seen this one.
After some searching, the closest thing I could find is the genus Rhinocoris, but I’m having a hard time narrowing it down further, if that’s even correct to begin with.
Being in Hawaii, we play host to a lot of introduced species from all over the world, so I imagine that’s why I’m not finding it in any of my North American field guides (inevitably the only ones available at bookstores).
Apologies for the giant photos; I was impressed with the camera, since I’d never tried to use it to take such close-ups before. Though, these don’t really do justice to how fine and rich the red pigment in this little bug really is.
Almost exactly one year ago to the day, we first received an image of this species from Hawaii that was eventually identified by entomologist Frank Howarth from the Bishop Museum as an Asian Assassin Bug that feeds upon Millipedes, Haematoloecha rubescens. The species was believed to have been introduced to Hawaii in the 1970s. It is commonly called the Red Assassin Bug. Its aposomatic coloration is a warning sign, and if carelessly handled, it will most likely bite a human.
Wow! Thank you very much for the response! I wasn’t sure where exactly to start, so I just went into the general True Bug category. I guess I didn’t go back deep enough to find this. I’m also glad (and, I guess, also lucky) that I didn’t get bitten, because I was handling it a fair amount (though by ‘handling’ I mean ‘letting it walk all over my hand while looking for a container’). Good to know, now I’ll be extra careful if I see more of these around.