Currently viewing the category: "Ambush Bugs"
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The Armored Assassin

Jagged Ambush Bug

The Armored Assassin
Location: Mid-Missouri
October 29, 2010 9:34 pm
While I love all bugs, I think one of my favorite has to be the Ambush Bug. It is just a armored shell of terror. He sits hidden inside or behind a flower bloom waiting for his prey to land for their last sip of nectar. He emits a type of authority and force like I rarely see in the insect world. Sure, all Assassin Bugs are made up of terror to other insects, but to me, none give that incredible look of strength in the same way as the Ambush Bug. For me, this is as good as it gets and I feel fortunate to have had about half a dozen sightings of them this year..many times with prey in hand.
Here are 3 of my favorite pictures from the past couple months of my favorite assassin bug….if not my favorite bug, period.
My ID: Jagged Ambush Bug – Phymata fasciata (I’m certain on Phymata, fairly certain on Phymata fasciata).
Signature: Nathanael Siders

Ambush Bug feeds on Skipper

Hi Nathanael,
Thanks again for submitting some wonderful images as well as your first hand observations.  Ambush Bugs were originally classified in their own family, but recent years have seen a change in the taxonomy, and they are now a subfamily of the Assassin Bugs.  We agree that this is a Jagged Ambush Bug in the genus
Phymata, though we do not feel qualified enough to determine the exact species as the members of the genus are all quite similar.  Can you recall the identity of the prey in your one photo?  It appears to be a Skipper butterfly.

Jagged Ambush Bug

You are correct, it was a skipper that became his meal.  I have also seen them eating syrphids a good bit around my house.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Wierd Bug
Location:  Ft Collins, CO
October 16, 2010 8:56 pm
This bug was located in Ft. Collins CO, living on a Marigold flower.
Signature:  Ft Collins

Ambush Bug

Dear Ft Collins,
This is an Ambush Bug, a stealth predator that often sits on blossoms waiting to prey upon pollinating insects.  Ambush Bugs were originally classified as a distinct family, but the group has recently undergone a revision of taxonomy and they are considered to be a subfamily of the Assassin Bugs.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What kind of bug is this
Location:  western North Carolina–Jackson County–Appalachian Mountains
August 27, 2010 10:16 pm
Hi! I’m trying to identify this bug. Can you help? Someone suggested that it was a crab spider, but I do not think it is a spider at all b/c it doesn’t have eight legs. I saw it about a week ago–mid August–at a friend’s farm. I only saw one and it was tucked down inside the petals of this pink flower. It is quite small and appeared to have wings.
Thank you for help!
Rosemary Peek

Jagged Ambush Bug

Hi Rosemary,
The coloration on this Ambush Bug in the subfamily Phymatinae is much lighter than we generally see, however, there is a photo of a Jagged Ambush Bug in the genus
Phymata that is posted to BugGuide that is a near identical match to your specimen.  Typically, the coloration of the Ambush Bugs is very close to that of the flowers upon which they wait so that they can ambush pollinating insects, which causes us to ponder if perhaps this may be a newly molted individual whose color will darken.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

identify yellow & red sunflower insect
Location:  Trinidad, Colorado
August 9, 2010 5:05 pm
First time I’ve seen these on my sunflowers, they blend in very well, tend to stay on the seedheads or right next to the petals.
Found August 1, 2010 in Trinidad, Colorado (on the New Mexico border in central colorado)
elevation 6500ft
Karen Howl

Ambush Bug

Hi Karen,
Ambush Bugs like the one in your photo wait camouflaged on blossoms to prey upon pollinating insects.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Green thing eating a fly?
Location:  Guelph, Ontario, Canada
July 25, 2010 4:21 pm
Saw this bug on a walk today. Looks like it’s eating a fly. It’s summer and I live in Ontario Canada.
Brittany

Ambush Bug eats Flesh Fly

Hi Brittany,
My, this is a beautiful photograph of an Ambush Bug eating a Flesh Fly.  Ambush Bugs in the subfamily Phumatinae (See BugGuide) have recently been downgraded from having their own family status to being considered a subfamily of the Assassin Bugs.  Ambush Bugs wait on flowers to ambush their prey, often insects that pollinate the flowers.  The fly in your photograph looks like a Flesh Fly in the family Sarcophagidae.  Our own Mt. Washington, Los Angeles offices have recently been host to Flesh Flies which seem to enter when the doors are open.  We find several indoors every week.  Flesh Flies maggots feed on rotted meat, be it animal carcasses or putrefied meat from the market.  Adults feed on sweet fluids including nectar (hence the ambush on the blossom), sap and fruit juice.  See BugGuide for more information.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Bizarre yellow bug with red eyes!
September 14, 2009
We found this little guy/gal (1/4 or 1/8 of an inch long) on some flowers in the yard. I have never seen anything like it before in my life. Does anyone know what the heck this thing is?
Nessa
SW Missouri

Ambush Bug

Ambush Bug

Hi Nessa,
This is a predatory Assassin Bug known as an Ambush Bug.  Not too long ago, Ambush Bugs were classified in their own family, but they have recently been downgraded to the subfamily Phymatinae of the Assassin Bug family Reduviidae.  True to their name, the camouflaged Ambush Bugs will wait on flowers until a pollinating insect arrives to feed.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination