Subject:  Stumped
Geographic location of the bug:  Southwest Mtns of VA near Charlottesville
Date: 08/25/2021
Time: 08:58 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Can you help us ID this beautiful bug? We found it on our porch today—a hot and humid August morning in the Southwest Mountains of Virginia. The bug was about 1.5″ long.
How you want your letter signed:  Amber

Bark Assassin Bug

Dear Amber,
In searching for links to identify your Assassin Bug, we stumbles upon Beetles in the Bush where it is identified as:  “what must be North America’s most beautiful assassin bug, 
Microtomus purcis.”  The site also states:  “Sometimes called the “bark assassin bug”, this species is not quite as large as the better known “wheel bug” (Arilus cristatus) but makes up this by its spectacular coloration—black with the base of the wings prominently marked creamy-white and parts of the abdomen and hind legs bright red. One would think such a conspicuously  marked assassin bug with a bite powerfully painful enough to back up its apparent warning coloration could brazenly venture out during the day with little to fear. To the contrary, this species seems best known for its habit of hiding under bark during the day and venturing out only at night, during which time it is sometimes attracted to lights (Slater & Baranowski 1978, Eaton & Kaufman 2007). A majority of BugGuide photos of the species also mention finding them under bark or apparently attracted to lights.¹”


Location: Charlottesville, Virginia

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