Subject:  Spikey wasp? Coral caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Bolivia, Ascensión de Guarayos and Trinidad
Date: 12/13/2019
Time: 05:57 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Bugman. I have spent the last year working at an animal sanctuary in the Bolivian jungle which means I encounter a huge amount of strange insects daily. These two particularly caught my attention and would love to know what they are. Many thanks
How you want your letter signed:  Chris

Assassin Bug:  Zelurus festivus

Dear Chris,
What you have mistaken for a “spikey wasp” is actually a stunning looking Assassin Bug, but we have not had any luck with a species identification.  We can assure you that this is NOT a Blood-sucking Conenose Bug or Kissing Bug from the subfamily Triatominae, a group known to spread Chagas Disease.  Many Assassin Bugs will deliver a painful bite if provoked or carelessly handled, but except for the Kissing Bugs, Assassin Bugs do not pose a threat to humans.  This individual is a very effective wasp mimic.  Perhaps Cesar Crash from Insetolgia will recognize it.  We will attempt to identify your Caterpillar at a later time.

Assassin Bug:  Zelurus festivus

Update: December 20, 2019
Thanks to Cesar Crash and Brandon Thorpe submitting comments, we now know this is
Zelurus festivus.  There are also images on iNaturalist and Discover Life.

Location: Ascension de Guarayos, Bolivia

8 Responses to Assassin Bug from Bolivia is Zelurus festivus

  1. Cesar Crash says:

    Hi,

    It’s Reduviinae, Zelurus or related genus. I’m not home now, I may try there later with some literature I have.

  2. Cesar Crash says:

    Hi,

    It’s Reduviinae, Zelurus or related genus. I’m not home now, I may try there later with some literature I have.

  3. Brandon Thorpe says:

    Your assassin bug is Zelurus festivus… Festivus, not making that up, like the made up holiday season from Seinfeld.. Happy Festivus!

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