Ambushed Wasp – The Ambush Bug

13 Mar


Wasp and ambush bug on flower.

An ambush bug preys on an unwary wasp.

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.

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