Subject: assassin bug
Location: India, Kerala
December 21, 2012 3:09 pm
Dear Bugman Team!!
this year i found this assassin bug in the south of india..the only problem is that i can’t identify the species of this assassin bug.
I found it at the end of february in kearla (at night)
Please help me,
thank you very much,
Signature: Assassin Bug

Assassin Bug

Hi Angelika,
This is one beautiful and impressive Assassin Bug that is also quite distinctive looking.
  We did not have any luck in our initial internet search, but we hope to be able to provide you with a species identification before too much time elapses.

Assassin Bug

Sadly, there are not as many databases for identifying insects from South Asia as there are from North America, Australia and the U.K.

Assassin Bug


Location: India

7 Responses to Assassin Bug from India

  1. Daniel Swanson says:

    Appears to be something near Brassivola or Bartacus (Harpactorinae), but there are problems with both identities.

  2. Angelika says:

    half a year ago, I postet this foto of the assassin bug.
    now I think it is Brassivola hystrix, thank you for your tip Daniel Swanson!!

    one point of the description of Brassivola is “…with a long erect spine behind the base of each antenna, anteocular an postocular areas are equal in length,…”
    and one point of the description of Bartacus is “..Postocular area of the head longer than the anteocular,…, a strong erect spine before the base of each antenna”

    Here (and under the microscope) I can see the erect spine is behind the base of each antenna and the post- and anteocular area have nearly the same lenght…


    • bugman says:

      Thanks for the followup comment.

    • drswanny says:

      I’m glad my comments could be helpful, but I would not be quite so set on the ID for a couple reasons. As I mentioned before, there are details that make either genus a problematic ID. I think I remember that your specimen, while very similar to, does not match B. hystrix in a couple color and morphological details. But these could be sexually dimorphic characters too.

      The other point is that the antennal spine character you mentioned is not helpful here because both are referring to the same thing, despite the confusing wording. The Brassivola wording means “behind” in the context of front to back, and the Bartacus wording means “before” in the context of from the base of the head to the apex. Both mean that the insect has what I call “postantennal spines” which are found in many, many genera of assassins.

      Despite all this cautionary advice, I was leaning toward Brassivola myself.

    • drswanny says:

      Yes, that is one image I used when I first investigated the identity of your insect. Notice the difference in intensity of the spotting and the different shape of the connexiva. But again, these may be sexually dimorphic.

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