Animals

Reduviidae Facts You'll Never Forget

Learn interesting Reduviidae facts about its habitat, diet, reproduction, and more!
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Reduviidae, commonly also known as Assassin bugs or kissing bugs, are members of the family of Reduviidae. Assassin bugs are part of the huge family of Reduviidae, whose range extends all over the planet. The family Reduviidae is a huge group of closely related insects including about 7000 species. This makes Reduviidae the biggest family in Hemiptera. The family name Reduviidae is derived from the genus Reduvius and every Redduviidae species shares one unique characteristic: their curvy, sharp-tipped mouth called a three-segmented beak, which helps these species in killing their prey.

Assassin bugs can be identified easily due to these characteristics and their size depends upon their species. They are all ambush predators, meaning they sit and watch as they entrap their victim using tactics and a plan. They can either be of bright colors or possess showy accents. They are usually red, green, orange, black, or brown in color, and assassin bugs are native to Pakistan.

If you liked reading these Reduviidae facts, you can also check out our facts on the ambush bug and the ladybird.

Reduviidae

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Mammals

What do they eat?

Carnivore

Average litter size?

300 eggs

How much do they weigh?

0.0001 oz (3-4 mg)

How long are they?

0.15-1.57 in (4.0 to 40 mm)

How tall are they?

N/A

What do they look like?

Brown, black, red, orange, and green

Skin Type

Fuzzy texture

What are their main threats?

Humans, rodents, birds, spiders, and praying mantis

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Rainforests, cities, fields, lakes, rocky areas, woodpiles, and gardens

Locations

United States, Mexico, South America, parts of Asia, Africa, Europe, and Central America

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Insecta

Scientific Name

Reduviidae

Family

Reduviidae

Genus

Zelus

Reduviidae Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Reduviidae?

The family Reduviidae are insects, they are also called true bugs. They are carnivores that suck blood from their prey and are also called kissing bugs. They are called this as they bite on or around the lips of prey.

What class of animal does a Reduviidae belong to?

The assassin bug belongs to the class Insecta and is a member of the subfamily Triatominae. Triatominae are classified as a subfamily of Reduviidae. Their members belong to the suborder Heteroptera and the order Hemiptera. The majority of them are predatory. Over 7000 species have been discovered of the Reduviidae family, making it the biggest family in Hemiptera. Members of the subfamily Triatominae have a few common names, such as kissing bugs, three-legged bugs, ambush bugs, and the wheel bug. Another subfamily of Reduviidae is called Phymatinae.

How many Reduviidae bugs are there in the world?

There is no exact data regarding the population of these three-segmented beak bugs, but the assassin bug can be found worldwide in large numbers.

Where does a Reduviidae live?

Most of these assassin bugs can be seen in North and Central America, Europe, Africa, parts of Asia, and South America. These bugs are a broad variety of species and a considerable range of species can be seen in North America alone.

What is a Reduviidae's habitat?

In line with its diversity of species, the Reduviidae family has a range of different types of habitats. They can be seen in animal nests, gardens, rainforests, and many more habitats.

Who do Reduviidae bugs live with?

The assassin bug's social behavior varies greatly. Some are solitary, some live in groups, and some reside in hidden areas. They can be found in bushy areas when it gets hot.

How long does a Reduviidae live?

In captivity, the assassin bug can live for one or two years.

How do they reproduce?

Female assassin bugs lay fertilized eggs after breeding, typically on a plant's leaf or stem. The baby bugs, known as nymphs, resemble miniature copies of the adult assassin bug when they are born. The nymphs are born lacking wings and must go through metamorphosis before they attain sexual maturity and acquire wings. The time it takes for eggs to incubate and for nymphs to grow varies significantly between species. They molt four times before growing to the standard adult size.

What is their conservation status?

The assassin bug has a Least Concern conservation status.

Reduviidae Fun Facts

What do Reduviidae bugs look like?

The assassin bug has a narrowly defined jaw, a robust body, and a fearsome curved proboscis. Their belly is broader in size than other parts of their body. Large specimens should be treated with caution since they protect themselves with a painful probosci jab. They have an elongated head with a prominent narrow neck, long limbs, and tubular mouthparts, which are generally referred to as the proboscis or rostrum.  The majority of species are brightly colored, with brown, yellow, red, or orange hues. Members of the Phymatinae subfamily have front legs that match those of a praying mantis and they capture and carry their prey in the same manner that mantises do.

Reduviidae assassin bugs have a robust body and curved beaks.

How cute are they?

The assassin bug is anything but cute. They might appeal to insect lovers due to their bright hues, but to other people, their body, their legs, and the painful bite from their proboscis, all together can be quite frightening.

How do they communicate?

These predatory bugs communicate by jumping and touching each other's antennas. They make a noise by rubbing their beaks against the groove's edges.

How big is a Reduviidae?

The assassin bug, like all insects, is very small in size and an adult can be 0.15-1.57 in (4.0 to 40 mm) long.

How fast can a Reduviidae move?

Their exact speed is unknown but they are known to move slowly. However, they have the ability to prey upon and successfully kill a cockroach in a record time of between three and four seconds and they can kill a caterpillar in a short span of just 10 seconds. An assassin bug's front legs are also built for predatory tasks.

How much does a Reduviidae weigh?

Their weight is substantially low at just 0.0001 oz (3-4 mg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for males and females.

What would you call a baby Reduviidae?

A baby Reduviidae assassin bug is known as a Reduviidae nymph.

What do they eat?

Kissing bugs are voracious pests that prey on creatures such as leafhoppers, caterpillars, and a variety of other medium-sized insects. They also like to feed on the blood of mammals. Rodents, snakes, insects, and the praying mantis are their natural predators. Their stridulatory organ makes a vibration, which is also used to deter predators. If the harassment persists, certain bugs may use their proboscis (beak) to administer a painful stab, inserting poison into the predator. The long rostrum of the Reduviidae is used to inject poisonous saliva that liquefies the internal organs of its prey, which are later sucked out by the assassin bug. The enzymes in their saliva digest the tissues they swallow and their saliva is very powerful. Some Reduviidae have tiny hairs on their front legs as well as back legs that help them hold onto their prey when they feed on pests.

Are they harmful?

Yes, their bite can prove to be fatal to humans and can kill. The kissing bugs bear a parasite known as Chagas disease which is uncommon in the US. Their bites can cause terrible itching which, when scratched, can lead to a skin infection. An allergic reaction may also be caused by these bites.

Would they make a good pet?

No, the assassin bug falls in the list of the top 10 deadliest insects in the world so would not be a suitable pet.

Did you know...

Pests of the Reduviidae family can easily fly above 1804 ft (550 m), the highest reaching 4921 ft (1500 m)

Assassin bugs are excellent predators, and are thus being used by researchers as a natural pest control agent for crops!

Reduviidae bugs and people

The assassin bug is considered a pest when it bites people. Their bite can be quite painful and their bite can even cause a severe allergic reaction. They bite sleeping humans on the lips and their bite has the potential to cause Chagas disease, which has proved to be fatal if left untreated as it can cause heart failure. But, don't worry, they only prey upon humans if they are sleeping near a potential prey's home like a rodent's nest.

Naming Reduviidae bugs

The assassin bug gets its name from the fact that it pierces its prey with its long mouthpiece. Then they inject a paralyzing venom into their prey's body. The term Reduviidae can be pronounced 'Reh-doo-vi-day'.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including the wheel bug, or stick bug.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Reduviidae coloring pages.

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