January 27th – Orange Assassin Bug

Orange Assassin Bug (Gminatus australis)

Another one of nature’s odd creatures, dressed a little more visible than others I’ve seen before. Oddly coloured, I haven’t noticed too many ninja’s wearing hi-viz before – I guess that’s exactly how it’s meant to be!

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t another cicada-like obsession, I’m not a big fan of these insects. On the other hand, I haven’t noticed another specimen so brightly coloured as this one.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered it was called the Orange Assassin Bug (Gminatus australis).

In this profile shot you can clearly see the nasty rostrum – the spike through which the Assassin bug pierces its prey and injects a toxic saliva, before feeding on the victim. As unappealing as they look, Assassin bugs have some extraordinary behaviours, such as wearing their slain as a lure for their friends (and subsequently another meal), or dipping a leg in nectar to attract bees.

But they are relative loners. You rarely find two together, and there isn’t a nest to find and disrupt. Just a bunch of eggs under a leaf somewhere, which spawns dozen of nymphs that go through numerous moults before reaching maturity.

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