Jagged Ambush Bug

Subject: Orange/Yellow & Black Insect w/Crab Legs…?
Location: Muskegon, Michigan
September 11, 2016 7:24 am
I’ve seen this insect in the same spot for two nights now. It appears to be a black and orange, or black and yellow, and has crab-like front legs, sort of like a predacious diver! It measures only around 3.5 to 4 millimeters and I *think* it has wings, although I’ve never seen it move or fly from the expired lily stalk it’s on. I’d be very grateful to find out what it is and whether it’s a friend or foe to my garden(s)!
I haven’t seen anything even remotely similar to it all summer -and I’m definitely somebody who pays attention! I believe that entomology is a HUGE part of being a good horticulturist! Thank you for any clues/identification you can provide me!
Signature: Maggie Hart

Jagged Ambush Bug
Jagged Ambush Bug

Dear Maggie,
This is a predatory Jagged Ambush Bug in the genus
Phymata, and like many predatory species including the Preying Mantis, the Jagged Ambush Bug is not that particular about what it preys upon, so many beneficial insects like Honey Bees can become prey, but generally speaking, we would have to say that predators are necessary to keep populations of other species in check.  Your individual is much darker than most Jagged Ambush Bug images we have seen, but it does match this image on BugGuide of a Pennsylvania Ambush Bug, Phymata pennsylvanica, a species with a range not limited to its namesake state.

Jagged Ambush Bug
Jagged Ambush Bug

Holy smokes!
I can see the resemblance between the photo I took and the one you sent me a link to!  It’s no wonder my searches for “black and orange” or “black and yellow” insects weren’t yielding anything similar!
Thank you very much for your speedy response!
Maggie Hart

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