Monday, November 11, 2013
Creature Feature #27: Assassin Bug
Once they have their invertebrate prey within their grasp (some species have specially modified forelegs for strong grasping, like those of a praying mantis), it is injected with an enzyme that paralyzes it and liquifies its internal organs, turning them to mush (yuck). The assassin bug then sucks out the juicy innards. The "beak" of the assassin bug is in several parts - the piercing mouthpart that injects the venom and a sort of "straw" that is then inserted - presumerably in the hole already bored - to suck out the insides.
But the depredations of this little insect do not end there - some species, in Malaysia, decorate their carapace with the hard outer shells of their drained prey, creating an extra exoskeleton armour. Different species hunt different prey and they are of interest to humans for the role they can play in biological control.