Assassin Bug from Bolivia is Zelurus festivus

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.

8 thoughts on “Assassin Bug from Bolivia is Zelurus festivus”

  1. 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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