Exploring an Argentinean roadside I spotted what I thought was a dead wasp on a flower. Wondering how this wasp had come to perish so abruptly in her nectar gathering work, I looked closer. I actually poked at her several times before I noticed the second occupant of the flower—an ambush bug enjoying a tasty wasp meal!
Ambush bugs are a subfamily of Assassin bugs, family Reduviidae. Ambush bugs are “sit-and-wait” predators. These highly cryptic (camouflaged) insects frequently lurk around flowers, where they pick off unwary visitors. They have mantis-like raptorial forelegs to snatch their prey from a safe distance. Like other true bugs (order Hemiptera, suborder Heteroptera) ambush bugs have a segmented tube-like ‘beak’ for feeding. Ambush bugs insert this beak into a weak spot in their prey’s hard exoskeleton and suck out the fluids.