Location: Lehigh County, Pennsylvania
November 18, 2011 9:50 am
Hi. I’ve been finding these insects on the average of about one per year. When I was a kid, I found a few on one bush and put some into an aquarium and found one eating a little moth one day, but I don’t know if it scavenged a dead one. They have a piercing or sucking mouth part. In this picture, one is on my left pinky, to give you an idea of size. When not using them to help walk, it will hold its front arms or legs straight out in front. No one has ever been able to identify this insect in all these years.
Though the raptorial front legs are reminiscent of those of a Preying Mantis, this Thread-Legged Bug is not closely related. It is in the Assassin Bug subfamily Emesinae, and we suspect it is in the genus Emesaya based on photos posted to BugGuide. Like [most] other Assassin Bugs, Thread-Legged Bugs are beneficial predators.
Emesaya it is ! Thanks for identifying the insect that I have been trying to identify for 30 years. Now, I hear Assassin Bugs have a nasty bite; should I not be handling these bugs? They seem so docile though.
Some Assassin Bugs are more prone to biting humans than others. We have not heard of anyone being bitten by a Thread Legged Bug.