Subject: oh my what is this?
Location: Queensland Australia
December 2, 2013 6:57 am
My toddler was bitten/stung by this critter tonight, her hand swelled instantly and she cried out as it hurt her. Unsure of what it is we are keeping a close eye on her tonight. Its approx 2.5cm long and has 6 legs. Any info you can give would be terrific.
This is an Assassin Bug in the family Reduviidae, and it appears to be a nymph, possibly of the Common Assassin Bug, Pristhesancus plagipennis, that is pictured on the Brisbane Insect Website which indicates: “Notice its strong and long mouth part, also know as Rostrum, is used for punch into their prey’s body and suck their juice. They will give a very painful bite, so don’t touch them.” There is one genus of New World Assassin Bugs, Triatoma, known as Kissing Bugs or Blood Sucking Conenose Bugs. They readily bite humans and they are known to spread Chagas Disease in Central America, South America and the southernmost portions of the American Southwest, and to the best of our knowledge, they are the only Assassin Bugs known to be harmful to humans, however, as your toddler experienced, the bite of an Assassin Bug can be quite painful. There is tenderness and local swelling, but there should be no permanent harm due to the bite. Many insects bite if carelessly handled, but with certain Assassin Bugs, we frequently get reports of unprovoked bites.