NE Flordia Stumper
Location: Fleming Island, FL
February 6, 2012 7:27 am
I’ve lived in Florida (Insect Mecca) for many years…but this is a new one. I live in Fleming Island, FL about a mile west of the St. Johns River. I started noticing these on my two collies after they would play out back. I have a small fenced in yard that backs up to a field of an elementary school.
The insect has six legs, and very in size from 1/2” to 1” in body length.
The best I could guess was some sort of Wheel Bug Arilus cristatus Nymph.
Hopefully you can give some assistance.
Signature: Joe Summanen
You are on the right track, but not exactly correct. This is the nymph of a Milkweed Assassin Bug, Zelus longipes, and like the Wheel Bug, they are both in the Assassin Bug family. Milkweed Assassin Bugs are important beneficial predators, but if they are carelessly handled, they can deliver a painful bite.
Unfortunately, I was bitten once. Ouch. That’s what caught my attention.