What is this insect? 6 legs and black spots

What is this insect? 6 legs and black spots

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What is this bug?

Details: - Georgia, (Southern) USA - Maybe 1-4cm in size - Seen near an open area/crack between an outer door-frame and door where it could have come from outside, or going from inside to outside since the temperature difference was noticeable in this area.

Thanks in advance!

(Note: I'm going to be using the British English "ladybird" instead of the US English "ladybug" in this answer.)

This is a clearly a species of ladybird. Going by the number of spots, their size and not-perfectly-round shape, the positioning of the four central spots relative to the others, and the fact that its background colour isn't bright yellow… I'm pretty sure it's Harmonia axyridis, the species that us Brits refer to as a "Harlequin ladybird". I think Americans refer to it as an "Asian ladybug" or "Asian ladybeetle".

The spot patterns for this particular species vary a lot, as to some extent do the colours, so I've googled for images to support this answer. The below picture was posted to:">Entomart. On the Wikipedia page and on their homepage, Entomart grant permission for the use of the image as long as they are given proper attribution, so I'm able to include it in this answer:

For more pictures of the Harlequin (again, showing how much the spot pattern and colouration vary), see:">

Thanks for posting this question! I didn't expect to see a ladybird on Christmas Day :-)

Insects and Ticks > Black Flies

Black flies, known also as "buffalo gnats" and "turkey gnats," are very small, robust flies that are annoying biting pests of wildlife, livestock, poultry, and humans. Their blood-sucking habits also raise concerns about possible transmission of disease agents. You are encouraged to learn more about the biology of black flies so that you can be better informed about avoiding being bitten and about their public health risk.

Are Black Flies a Public Health Risk?

Black flies can be annoying biting pests, but none are known to transmit disease agents to humans in the U. S. However, they transmit one parasitic nematode worm that infects humans in other regions of the world. Onchocerca volvulus causes a significant human disease known as onchocerciasis or "river blindness" in equatorial Africa and mountainous regions of northern South America and Central America.

The bites of black flies cause different reactions in humans, ranging from a small puncture wound where the original blood meal was taken to a swelling that can be the size of a golf ball. Reactions to black fly bites that collectively are known as "black fly fever" include headache, nausea, fever, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck.

In eastern North America, only about six black fly species are known to feed on humans. Several other species are attracted to humans, but they typically do not bite. However, the non-biting species fly around the head and may crawl into the ears, eyes, nose, or mouth, causing extreme annoyance to anyone engaged in outdoor activities.

Black flies can be found throughout most of the U. S., but their impact on outdoor activities varies depending on the specific region and time of year. For example, in parts of the upper Midwest and the Northeast, black fly biting can be so extreme, especially in late spring into early summer, it may disrupt or prevent outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and kayaking.

Besides being a nuisance to humans, black flies can pose a threat to livestock. They are capable of transmitting a number of different disease agents to livestock, including protozoa and nematode worms, none of which cause disease in humans. In addition to being vectors of disease agents, black flies pose other threats to livestock. For example, when numerous enough, black flies have caused suffocation by crawling into the nose and throat of pastured animals. On rare occasions, black flies have been known to cause exsanguination (death due to blood loss) from extreme rates of biting. Saliva injected by biting black flies can cause a condition known as "toxic shock" in livestock and poultry, which may result in death.

How Many Types of Black Flies Are There?

Black flies are true flies (Order Diptera) in the family Simuliidae, which includes more than 1,700 species worldwide. In North America, 255 species in 11 genera have been identified, but additional species remain to be discovered and named. Very little is known about black flies in Indiana, and there are no estimates of the number of species in the state. For perspective, 12 species have been documented in Illinois, while over 30 species have been documented in both Minnesota and Wisconsin, where black fly habitats are more abundant.

How Can I Recognize an Adult Black Fly?

Black flies range in size from 5 to 15 mm, and they are relatively robust, with an arched thoracic region (Figure 1). They have large compound eyes, short antennae, and a pair of large, fan-shaped wings. Most species have a black body, but yellow and even orange species exist.

What Is the Life Cycle of Black Flies?

Black flies undergo a type of development known as "complete metamorphosis" (Figure 2). This means the last larval stage molts into a non-feeding pupal stage that eventually transforms into a winged adult. After taking a blood meal, females develop a single batch of 200-500 eggs. Most species lay their eggs in or on flowing water, but some attach them to wet surfaces such as blades of aquatic grasses.

The length of time it takes an egg to hatch varies greatly from species to species. Eggs of most species hatch in 4-30 days, but those of certain species may not hatch for a period of several months or longer. The number of larval stages ranges from 4-9, with 7 being the usual number. The duration of larval development ranges from 1-6 months, depending in part on water temperature and food supply. The life cycle stage that passes though winter is the last stage larva attached underwater to rocks, driftwood, and concrete surfaces such as dams and sides of man-made channels.

Figure 2. Black fly life cycle. (Illustration by: Scott Charlesworth, Purdue University,
based in in part on Peterson, B.V., IN: IN: Manual of Nearctic Diptera, Volume 1)

The pupal stage is formed the following spring or summer, typically in the same site as the last stage larva, but may occur downstream following larval "drift" with the current. Adults emerge from the pupal stage in 4-7 days and can live for a few weeks. Adults of most species are active from mid-May to July. The number of generations completed in one year varies among species, with some having only one generation, but most species that are major pests complete several generations per year.

Black fly larvae and pupae develop in flowing water, typically non-polluted water with a high level of dissolved oxygen. Suitable aquatic habitats for black fly larval development vary greatly and include large rivers, icy mountain streams, trickling creeks, and waterfalls. Larvae of most species typically are found in only one of these habitats.

Larvae remain attached to stationary objects in flowing water, held on by silken threads extruded from glands located at the end of the bulbous abdomen. Depending on species, mature larvae range from 5-15 mm in length and may be brown, green, gray, or nearly black in color. They possess a large head that bears two prominent structures known as "labral fans" that project forward (see Figure 2). Labral fans are the primary feeding structures, filtering organic matter or small invertebrates out of the water current.

Pupae remain attached to stationary objects in flowing water as well. They typically are orange and appear mummy-like because the developing wings and legs are tightly attached to the body. Pupae of many species produce a delicate, silken "cocoon" of varying density, weave, and size that partially or nearly entirely encloses them other species produce hardly any cocoon at all.

What Should I Know About the Feeding Habits of Adult Black Flies?

It is estimated that females of 90% of the black fly species require a blood meal for the development of eggs. Those of most species feed on mammals, while others feed on birds. Females of some black fly species feed on only one host, whereas others are known to feed on over 30 different host species. No North American species feed exclusively on humans. Male black flies are not attracted to humans, and their mouthparts are not capable of biting.

Females of most species of black flies feed during the day, usually biting on the upper body and head. Unlike certain species of mosquitoes and biting midges, black flies do not enter human structures to seek blood meals.

Do Humans Contribute to Black Fly Problems?

Human activities can lead to an increase in black fly numbers in an area. Structures such as concrete dams and concrete-lined stream channels provide excellent developmental sites for larvae and pupae of certain black fly species. In addition, the restoration of polluted streams, especially in New England, has increased the dissolved oxygen content of streams and created suitable larval habitat for some of our most important pest species.

What Should I Know About Controlling Black Flies?

Control of black flies is difficult, typically aimed at the larval stages, and usually involves aerial applications of insecticides or physically altering the habitat of pest species. The most effective control programs are conducted by state agencies or by professional pest control companies contracted by the state. Any effect is limited in duration, however, in large part because females of pest species are capable of flying long distances from the larval developmental site, and they soon re-infest treated areas.

There is little that an affected homeowner or person engaging in outdoor activities can do to control black flies. For personal protection, it is best to avoid peak periods of black fly activity. Information pertaining to the predicted "black fly season" in a particular area often can be obtained by contacting a local Cooperative Extension office. When venturing outdoors in infested areas, apply an insect repellent containing DEET, wear protective clothing, and minimize openings such as buttonholes through which black flies crawl in an attempt to feed. Outdoor activities in heavily infested areas may require the wearing of fine-mesh head nets, similar to those worn by beekeepers.

Where Can I Find More Information on Black Flies?

A recent (2002) textbook by G. Mullen and L. Durden, Medical and Veterinary Entomology, has an excellent chapter devoted to black flies that covers biology, behavior, medical and veterinary risk, and information on personal protection and approaches to black fly control.

What is this insect? 6 legs and black spots - Biology

One of the more colorful spiders in Florida is the spinybacked orbweaver, Gasteracantha cancriformis (Linnaeus) 1767. Although not as large as some of the other common orb weavers (e.g., Argiope, Levi 1968 Neoscona, Edwards 1984), the combination of color, shape, and web characteristics make Gasteracantha cancriformis one of the most conspicuous of spiders. The colloquial name for this spider in parts of Florida is crab spider, although it is not related to any of the families of spiders commonly called crab spiders, e.g., Thomisidoe.

Figure 1. The spinybacked orbweaver, Gasteracantha cancriformis (Linnaeus), in its web. Photograph by Andrei Sourakov, Florida Museum of Natural History.

Systematics (Back to Top)

Because of the variations in color and shape of the abdominal "spines" throughout its range, Gasteracantha cancriformis has been described by numerous early scientists under a plethora of names (Levi 1978). Although Kaston (1978) continued the use of the name Gasteracantha elipsoides (Walckenaer) 1841, resurrected by Chamberlin and Ivie (1944), Levi (1978) examined this species and found it to be a synonym of Gasteracantha cancriformis.

Distribution (Back to Top)

This species belongs to a pantropical genus which contains many species in the Old World. With the possible exception of the West Indian Gasteracantha tetracantha (L.) (which may be only a geographic race), Gasteracantha cancriformis is the only species of its genus to occur in the New World, ranging from the southern United States to northern Argentina (Levi 1978).

Identification (Back to Top)

This species can be easily distinguished from all other spiders in Florida. Females may be 5 to nearly 9 mm in length, but 10 to 13 mm wide. They have six pointed abdominal projections frequently referred to as "spines." The carapace, legs, and venter are black, with some white spots on the underside of the abdomen. The dorsum of the abdomen is, typically for Florida specimens, white with black spots and red spines. Specimens from other areas may have the abdominal dorsum yellow instead of white, may have black spines instead of red, or may be almost entirely black dorsally and ventrally. Males are much smaller than females, 2 to 3 mm long, and slightly longer than wide. Color is similar to the female, except the abdomen is gray with white spots. The large abdominal spines are lacking, although there are four or five posterior small humps (Levi 1978, Muma 1971).

Figure 2. Female spinybacked orbweaver, Gasteracantha cancriformis (Linnaeus). Photograph by University of Florida.

Biology (Back to Top)

Muma (1971) discussed the life cycle and web construction of Gasteracantha cancriformis in Florida. Although males have been found in every month except December and January (Levi 1978), they are most common in October and November. Females, which are found as adults throughout the year, are most common from October through January. Mixed-mesophytic woodlands and citrus groves are where they are most frequently found. Males hang by single threads from the females' webs prior to mating, described by Muma (1971).

Ovate egg sacs, 20 to 25 mm long by 10 to 15 mm wide, are deposited on the undersides of leaves adjacent to the female's web from October through January. The egg mass consists of 101 to 256 eggs, with a mean of 169 (based on 15 egg masses). After the eggs are laid on a white silken sheet, they are first covered with a loose, tangled mass of fine white or yellowish silk, then several strands of dark green silk are laid along the longitudinal axis of the egg mass, followed by a net-like canopy of coarse green and yellow threads. Eggs are frequently attacked by specialized predators, primarily Phalacrotophora epeirae (Brues) (Diptera: Phoridae), and occasionally Arachnophago ferruginea Gahan (Hymenoptera: Eupelmidae) (Muma and Stone 1971). Eggs take 11 to 13 days to hatch, then spend two to three days in a pink and white deutova stage before molting to the first instar.

Figure 3. Egg sac of the spinybacked orbweaver, Gasteracantha cancriformis (Linnaeus). Photograph by Lyle J. Buss, University of Florida.

After another five to seven days, the spiderlings acquire dark coloration. Spiderlings dispersed within a week later in disturbed laboratory colonies, but remained in the eggsacs an additional two to five weeks in the field. Spiderlings make tiny, inconspicious orb webs or hang from single strands. In the late summer and early fall, significant increases occur in both body and web size. The larger webs have 10 to 30 radii. The central disk where the spider rests is separated from the sticky (viscid) spirals by an open area 4 to 8 cm wide. There may be as many as 30 loops of the viscid spiral, spaced at 2 to 4 mm intervals. The catching area of the web may be 30 to 60 cm in diameter. Conspicuous tufts of silk occur on the web, primarily on the foundation lines. The function of these tufts is unknown, but one hypothesis suggests that the tufts make the webs more conspicuous to birds (Eisner and Nowicki 1983), preventing the birds from flying into and destroying the webs. The webs may be less than 1 m to more than 6 m above ground. The spiders prey on whiteflies, flies, moths, and beetles that are caught in the webs.

Figure 4. The spinybacked orbweaver, Gasteracantha cancriformis (Linnaeus), in its web. Photograph by Andrei Sourakov, Florida Museum of Natural History.

Survey and Detection (Back to Top)

Citrus workers frequently encounter this species, and it may occur on trees and shrubs around houses and nurseries. Specimens may be easily collected in small vials, and are best preserved, as are all spiders, in 70 to 80% ethyl or isopropyl alcohol.

The bite of this common species is not known to cause serious effects to humans.

What is this insect? 6 legs and black spots - Biology

Zelus longipes Linnaeus is commonly called the milkweed assassin bug, as it closely resembles the milkweed bug, Oncopeltus fasciatus (Dallas). It is also known as the longlegged assassin bug and the Zelus assassin bug (Bug Guide). Members of the genus Zelus belong to the subfamily Harpactorinae and are diurnal in nature. They are generalist predators feeding on a wide range of soft-bodied prey in garden and fields such as mosquitoes, flies, earthworms, cucumber beetles, and caterpillars (fall armyworm, rootworm, etc.).

Figure 1. Adult milkweed assassin bug, Zelus longipes Linnaeus, showing its long legs and beak (stylet), sitting on a sweet corn tassel. Photograph by Megha Kalsi, University of Florida.

Distribution (Back to Top)

Zelus longipes is widely distributed in southern North America (Gulf Coast and South Atlantic states southern California and southwestern Arizona in United States), Central America, South America (except Chile) through central Argentina, and the West Indies (Hart 1986, Melo 2005, Wolf and Reid 2001, Cogni et al. 2000).

Description and Life Cycle (Back to Top)

This species exhibits great variation in size and color, which resulted in confusion in correct species identification in the past. The greatest color variation is observed in West Indies populations where individuals may be orange-brown, brownish-black and even entirely black (Hart 1986). The United States populations are distinctively orange and black in color. Adults and nymphs have a pear-shaped head, constricted neck and long hairy legs. Their piercing and sucking mouthparts have a three-segmented beak which, when at rest, is bent and held under the thorax in a groove.

Adults: Males are smaller than females. In California and Arizona populations, males averaged 16.1 mm and females 18.4 mm in length, while in Gulf Coast populations, males and females averaged 16.8 mm and 18.2 mm, respectively. In females, the terminal abdominal segment is platelike or flattened, while in males it is cuplike or rounded (Hart 1986). Adults are known to overwinter.

Adult Zelus longipes can be differentiated from other Zelus species based on the following morphological characteristics:

In the pronotum, humeral angles are unarmed and rounded,

Dorsal surface of insect ranges from brownish-red to brownish-black in color,

Parameres (or lateral lobes of male genital organ) are cylindrical and long, surpassing 1/4 the length of median lobes.

Figure 2. Adult female milkweed assassin bug, Zelus longipes Linnaeus, sitting on a sweet corn tassel. Photograph by Megha Kalsi, University of Florida.

Figure 3. Adults milkweed assassin bugs, Zelus longipes Linnaeus, mating in sweet corn field. Photograph by Megha Kalsi, University of Florida.

Eggs: The eggs are cylindrical and elongate in shape, non-ornamented, brown in color, with a light brown, cap-like structure (called the operculum) which has a central pore with a funnel-shaped opening. The egg can be divided into two parts: the operculum (which is attached to the anterior pole of the egg) and main eggshell or chorion (Wolf and Reid 2000). Each egg measures 2.0-2.3 mm in overall length while the appendage is 0.5 mm long (known to be longest among all bugs). The rest of the main eggshell measures 1.5 mm in length. The main eggshell is widest at the posterior pole (0.53 mm) and narrows near the anterior pole (0.32 mm). The anterior pole is flat and is attached to the anterior appendage at a distinct waist-shaped junction. Viewed sideways, the eggshell appears to be laterally flattened with a slight curvature inwards (Wolf and Reid 2000).

Figure 4. Eggs of the milkweed assassin bug, Zelus longipes Linnaeus, showing the central pore (a) in the operculum of one egg, and the mucilaginous layer (b) surrounding the main eggshells but not the opercula. Photograph by Megha Kalsi, University of Florida.

Figure 5. Lateral view of eggs of the milkweed assassin bug, Zelus longipes Linnaeus, showing the operculum (a), the main eggshell (b), the waist-like junction (c), and the egg flattened at one side with a slight curve inwards (d). Photograph by Megha Kalsi, University of Florida.

The main eggshell has a smooth surface. The anterior appendage exhibits a highly diversified architecture internally when viewed under SEM (Scanning electronic microscope). The cylindrical outer layer of the anterior appendage is called a veil, which is continuous with the main eggshell and roughly equal in diameter. The veil folds inwards at the anterior pole forming a double layer and within this are many honeycomb-like structures. The function of the veil is to regulate humidity for the developing embryo. Partially removing the veil exposes a topographical arrangement of the important components of the anterior appendage which are micropyles (present at the base of veil) and operculum. The micropyles help in gaseous exchange while the operculum is a plate-like structure attached to the anterior part of egg that is lifted during hatching. Eggs are laid in a cluster of 15 or more, cemented at the base and covered with viscous material (except for the anterior appendage as its function is to protect the aeropyles from clogging) (Wolf and Reid 2000).

Figure 6. An egg mass of the milkweed assassin bug, Zelus longipes Linnaeus, surrounded by a mucilaginous layer and laid on the lower surface of a sweet corn leaf. Notice that the egg opercula are not covered. Photograph by Megha Kalsi, University of Florida.

Figure 7. An adult female milkweed assassin bug, Zelus longipes Linnaeus, ovipositing eggs in a cage. Photograph by Megha Kalsi, University of Florida.

Nymphs: Zelus longipes passes through five nymphal instars before developing into adults.

First instar: The body is elongated with a differentiated neck and is light brown in color, measuring 2.61 mm in length. The head is pyriform in shape, measuring 0.80 mm in length and 0.50 mm wide with sparse setae. The prominent reddish-brown eyes are 0.22 mm wide (ocelli are absent). The antennae are filiform, setose and 3.98 mm long. The legs are dark brown in color, except for the coxa which is light brown. The abdomen is dark brown to orange in color, and appears round in form with a few setae on the last segments. This stage lacks wing pads (Melo et al. 2005).

Figure 8. First instar nymphs of the milkweed assassin bug, Zelus longipes Linnaeus, hatching out of the eggs and slowly extending their legs. Photograph by Megha Kalsi, University of Florida.

Figure 9. First instar nymph of the milkweed assassin bug, Zelus longipes Linnaeus, showing dorsal view (left and center) and ventral view (right). Photograph by Megha Kalsi, University of Florida.

Figure 10. A mass of first instar nymphs of the milkweed assassin bug, Zelus longipes Linnaeus, hatching out of eggs laid on a sweet corn leaf. Photograph by Megha Kalsi, University of Florida.

Figure 11. First instar nymph of the milkweed assassin bug, Zelus longipes Linnaeus, feeding on a nymph of the minute pirate bug, Orius insidiosus (Say). Photograph by Megha Kalsi, University of Florida.

Second instar: The body now is more elongated measuring 4.26 mm in length with pale brown color and orange tinge (Melo et al. 2005). The head is also more elongated, 1.08 mm long and 0.67 mm wide, compared to the previous instar. The legs are black with lightly colored coxa. And the abdomen is rounded and setose with faintly visible sweat glands. Wing pads are now present, and are dark brown to black in color and 0.35 mm long.

Figure 12. Anterior view of a second instar nymph (a) and the exuvia (b) of the milkweed assassin bug, Zelus longipes Linnaeus. Photograph by Megha Kalsi, University of Florida.

Third instar: The body is elongated and 5.73 mm long ( Melo et al. 2005). The head is 1.56 mm long and 0.78 mm wide. It is uniformly orange with setae. The antennae are 7.5 mm long, with color and banding similar to the previous instar. Legs and wing pad color are same as the previous instar. The length of the wing pad now averages 0.84 mm. The abdomen is rounded, with setae and visible scent gland openings.

Figure 13. Dorsal view of a third instar nymph and exuvia (insert) of the milkweed assassin bug, Zelus longipes Linnaeus. Photograph by Megha Kalsi, University of Florida.

Figure 14. Lateral view of a third instar nymph of the milkweed assassin bug, Zelus longipes Linnaeus. Head is to the right and the stylet (pointing to the rear in the resting position) is visible under the head. Photograph by Megha Kalsi, University of Florida.

Fourth instar: The total body length is 7.14 mm (Melo et al. 2005). The head width and length is 0.97 mm and 2.05 mm, respectively. Antennal length is now 10.23 mm,while the antennae are black and have two distal pale bands (light brown) on the first segment. The second and third antennal segments are setose. Legs are black with three pale bands, one on the forefemur and two on the median and hind femora. The wing pads are black, setose and 1.37 mm in length. The abdomen is more elongated and setose as compare to previous instars, and measures 2.67 mm in length and 0.65 mm in width. The posterior portion is yellow in color with prominent black dorsal spots present on the VI and VII sternites.

Fifth instar: The orange body is elongated, measuring 11.29 mm (Melo et al. 2005). Head length and width is 2.77 mm and 1.26 mm, respectively. Eyes are conspicuously black. Antennae, measuring 14.56 mm in length, are similar to previous instars in regard to color, band patterns and setae. The second segment of the antenna has five trichobothria (elongated, non-tapered setae) while the remaining three segments have abundant setae. The wing pads are 3.54 mm in length, setaceous and black. The abdomen is orange, setaceous and is 4.97 mm long and 1.77 mm wide. Lateral edges of the abdomen show thin whitish-yellow stripes.

Economic Importance (Back to Top)

While a generalist predator, Zelus longipes is also important as a predator of important economic pests such as the fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (Cogni et al. 2000), the Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri (Hall 2008), and the genista broom moth, Uresiphita reversalis Guenée (Carrel 2001).

While not a threat to humans, if not handled properly, a Zelus longipes bite can cause a burning sensation with swelling that may last for several days.

Feeding Behavior (Back to Top)

The strategy Zelus longipes uses to catch its prey is known as the "sticky trap strategy." Like many ambush bugs, Zelus longipes attacks prey after hiding inside foliage with its forelegs raised in the air. The forelegs of Zelus longipes are covered with a viscous material which acts as a glue, trapping the prey. Zelus longipes then rapidly paralyzes its prey by inserting its stylets into the host body and and prepares to feed through extra-oral digestion. Extra-oral digestion is a mode of digestion where a predator releases enzymes into its prey to dissolve the host's tissue, and later sucks up the dissolved liquid using its stylet as a straw (Wolf and Reid 2001). Zelus longipes can feed on prey that may be up to six times their own size. But with increasing prey size the handling and feeding time for Zelus longipes also increases, allowing them to become vulnerable to other predators (Cogni et al. 2000).

Figure 15. Adult milkweed assassin bugs, Zelus longipes Linnaeus, showing hiding or ambush behavior. Photograph by Megha Kalsi, University of Florida.

Figure 16. Adult milkweed assassin bug, Zelus longipes Linnaeus, lying in ambush (in the shadows upper left) with its forelegs raised just before attacking its prey, a cornsilk fly, Euxesta stigmatias Loew, (lower right). Photograph by Megha Kalsi, University of Florida.

Figure 17. Adult female milkweed assassin bug, Zelus longipes Linnaeus, paralyzing its prey, a cornsilk fly, Euxesta stigmatias Loew, by inserting stylets. Photograph by Megha Kalsi, University of Florida.

Figure 18. Adult female milkweed assassin bug, Zelus longipes Linnaeus, feeding on a cornsilk fly, Euxesta stigmatias Loew. Photograph by Megha Kalsi, University of Florida.

Figure 19. Nymph of the milkweed assassin bug, Zelus longipes Linnaeus, feeding on Euxesta annonae Fabricius, a picture-winged fly. Photograph by Megha Kalsi, University of Florida.

Selected References (Back to Top)

  • BugGuide. (October 2009). Species Zelus longipes - Milkweed Assassin Bug. (21 August 2018).
  • Carrel JE. 2001. Response of predaceous arthropods to chemically defended larvae of the pyralid moth Uresiphita reversalis (Guenée) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 74: 128-135.
  • Cogni R, Freitas AVL, Filho FA. 2000. Influence of prey size on predation success by Zelus longipes L. (Het., Reduviidae). Journal of Applied Entomology 126: 74-78.
  • Hall DG. (2008). Biological control of Diaphorina citri. Concitver. (21 August 2018).
  • Hart ER. 1986. Genus Zelus Fabricius in the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico (Hemiptera: Reduviidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 79: 535-548.
  • Melo MC, Coscaron MC, Filho BA. 2005. Immature stages of Zelus longipes (Heteroptera: Reduviidae, Harpactorinae). Transactions of the American Entomological Society 31: 101-110.
  • Ralston JS. 1977. Egg guarding by male assassin bug of the genus Zelus (Hemiptera: Reduviidae). Psyche 84: 103-107.
  • Wolf KW, Reid W. 2000. The architecture of the anterior appendage in the egg of the assassin bug, Zelus longipes (Hemiptera: Reduviidae). Arthropod Structure and Development 29: 333-341.
  • Wolf KW, Reid W. 2001. Surface morphology of legs in the assassin bug Zelus longipes (Hemiptera: Reduviidae): A scanning electron microscopy study with an emphasis on hairs and pores. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 94: 457-461.

Authors: Megha Kalsi and Dakshina R. Seal, University of Florida
Photographs: Megha Kalsi, University of Florida
Web Design: Don Wasik, Jane Medley
Publication Number: EENY-489
Publication Date: February 2011. Reviewed: August 2018.

General features

In numbers of species and individuals and in adaptability and wide distribution, insects are perhaps the most eminently successful group of all animals. They dominate the present-day land fauna with about 1 million described species. This represents about three-fourths of all described animal species. Entomologists estimate the actual number of living insect species could be as high as 5 million to 10 million. The orders that contain the greatest numbers of species are Coleoptera ( beetles), Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), Hymenoptera ( ants, bees, wasps), and Diptera (true flies).

What Are They?

So what are springtails, exactly? Springtails are decomposers that typically feed on decaying organic matter, including plants, fungi, bacteria, and algae. They're quite tiny, measuring a mere 1/16th of an inch long as adults,   and lack wings. Springtails are named for an unusual structure called a furcula, which folds beneath the abdomen like a tail. When a springtail senses danger, it whips the furcula against the ground, effectively propelling itself into the air and away from the threat. In the past, springtails were considered primitive insects, but today many entomologists call them entognathas rather than insects.

Like most decomposers, springtails prefer a moist, humid environment. When springtails invade homes, it's usually because conditions outdoors have become inhospitable, and they're seeking a location with appropriate humidity and moisture. This is also why they sometimes aggregate around swimming pools, or around muddy areas of the yard.

Insect Bites and Stings

Most insects do not usually attack humans unless they are provoked. Many bites and stings are defensive. Insects sting to protect their hives or nests or when incidentally touched or disturbed (so hives and nests should not be disturbed or approached).

A sting or bite injects venom composed of proteins and other substances that may trigger an allergic reaction in the victim. The sting also causes redness and swelling at the site of the sting.

Bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, and fire ants are members of the Hymenoptera family. Bites or stings from these species may cause serious reactions in people who are allergic to them. Death from bee stings is 3 to 4 times more common than death from snake bites. Bees, wasps, and fire ants differ in how they inflict injury.

  • When a bee stings, it loses the entire injection apparatus (stinger) and actually dies in the process.
  • A wasp can inflict multiple stings because it does not lose its injection apparatus after it stings.
  • Fire ants inject their venom by using their mandibles (the biting parts of their jaw) and rotating their bodies. They may inject venom many times.
  • Puss caterpillars (Megalopyge opercularis or asp) have hollow "hairs" or spines (setae) that break when touched and the toxin is injected into the skin.
  • In contrast, bites from mosquitoes are not defensive mosquitoes are looking to get blood for a meal.
    • Typically, most mosquitoes do not cause significant illnesses or allergic reactions unless they convey "vectors," or pathogenic microorganisms that actually live within the mosquitoes. For instance:
        is caused by an organism that spends part of its life cycle in a particular species of mosquitoes. is another disease spread by a mosquito. Various mosquitoes spread other viral diseases such as
    • equine encephalitis (suspected of causing microcephaly)
    • dengue and to humans and other animals.
    • Other types of insects or bugs that bite for a blood meal and diseases that are possibly transmitted are as follows:

        bites can transmit epidemic relapsing fever, caused by spirochetes (bacteria). , caused by the protozoan Leishmania, is carried by a sandfly bite.
  • Sleeping sickness in humans and a group of cattle diseases that are widespread in Africa, and known as are caused by protozoan trypanosomes transmitted by the bites of tsetse flies.
  • Bacteria-caused diseases tularemia can be spread by deer fly bites, the bubonic plague by fleas, and the epidemic typhus rickettsia by lice. (arachnids) can transmit Lyme disease and several other illnesses through their bites ticks bite so they can obtain a blood meal.
  • Other arachnids (bugs) such as chiggers, bedbugs, and mites typically cause self-limited localized itchiness and occasional swelling.
  • Serious bites from spiders (arachnids), which are not insects, can be from the black widow or brown recluse spiders the spiders bite usually as a defense mechanism.
  • Other insects and bugs can transmit diseases by simply transferring pathogens like Salmonella spp by contact. For example, in unsanitary conditions, the common housefly can play an incidental role in the spread of human intestinal infections (such as typhoid, bacillary and amebic dysentery) by contamination of human food as it lands and "walks" over foods after previously "walking" on contaminated items like feces.


    Insect Bites and Stings Symptoms

    The response to a sting or bite from insects or "bugs" is variable and depends on a variety of factors. Most bites and stings result in:

    The skin may be broken and become infected. If not treated properly, these local infections may become severe and cause a condition known as cellulitis.

    • You may experience a severe reaction beyond the immediate area of the sting if you are allergic to the bite or sting. This is known as anaphylaxis.
    • Symptoms of a severe reaction include:
      • hives,
      • wheezing,
      • shortness of breath,
      • unconsciousness, and even
      • death within 30 minutes.
        , , , and rarely,
    • respiratory problems.
    • In the past few years, researchers have found that tick bites (from the lone star tick) can generate an allergic response to red meat (beef, pork and venison, for example) and even milk.

      These problems may occur from the bite and the antigens that accompany the saliva during the bite or sting. The added problems of pathogen transfer during the bite, sting or feeding process are detailed in separate articles and will only be mentioned briefly in this general article.

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      When to Seek Medical Care for an Insect Bites and Stings

      Hives are the most common systemic symptom. They appear as irregular, raised, red blotchy areas on the skin and are very itchy. If hives are the only systemic symptom present, they are often treated at home with an antihistamine but if other symptoms such as shortness of breath and/or other symptoms listed below occur, 911 should be called.

      If you start to experience symptoms that are not just at the site of the bite or sting (or if you have a history of severe reactions), seek medical attention immediately. These symptoms (systemic symptoms affect the whole body) may progress to fatal anaphylactic shock.

      If the bite appears infected (redness with or without pus, warmth, fever, or a red streak that spreads toward the body), see a doctor immediately.

      If you don't know what bit or stung you, it is important to keep watching the area closely to be sure it does not become infected. Call your doctor if there is an open or ulcerating wound, which may suggest a poisonous spider bite.

      People who have a history of severe reactions should go to the nearest hospital's emergency department after a bite or sting if they experience any symptoms. Those who have no history of severe reactions should also go to the emergency department immediately or call 911 if they have any of the following symptoms:

      • Wheezing
      • Shortness of breath
      • Chest pain or tightness
      • Sensation of the throat closing or difficulty speaking or swallowing
      • Faintness or weakness
      • Infection (If the wound appears infected and you are not able to reach your doctor, seek care at a hospital.)

      Insect Bites and Stings Diagnosis

      The diagnosis of a reaction to a bite or sting is usually obvious from the history. The doctor will perform a physical examination to look for effects of the bite or sting on various parts of the body. If you can safely provide an example of what bit or stung you, it can be very helpful to the medical caregiver to determine both diagnosis and treatment. Examination of the skin, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, and oral cavity are particularly important to determine both diagnosis and treatments.

      To identify the disease that is transmitted by biting or stinging bugs or insects, blood tests are usually required once the definitive diagnosis is made (for example, Lyme disease, West Nile virus or malaria), specific treatments then can be started.


      Insect Bites and Stings Home Remedies

      Treatment depends on the type of reaction to the bite or sting. If there is only redness and pain at the site of the bite, application of ice is adequate treatment. Clean the area with soap and water to remove contaminated particles left behind by some insects (such as mosquitoes). These particles may further contaminate the wound if not removed. Refrain from scratching the bite or sting area because this may cause the skin to break down and an infection to form. Intermittent cold packs or ice may reduce swelling.

      You may treat itching at the site of the bite with an over-the-counter antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) in cream or pill form. Calamine lotion also helps relieve the itching.

      Emergency treatment at home for more serious allergic reactions is available. People who have a history of severe reactions to bites or stings may have been prescribed an anaphylaxis kit (n kit). The kit contains an epinephrine injector (you give yourself an injection), tourniquet, and an antihistamine. The kit should be used according to the doctor's instructions. The treatment should be followed by an evaluation in an emergency department to be sure the person recovers completely.

      Insect Bites and Stings Medical Treatment

      Treatment for serious reactions to stings or bites should be done in the emergency department. Treatment may begin with epinephrine (subcutaneous) diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and steroids (drugs in the cortisone family) are also usually given IV. Oral antibiotics may be given for infected bite wounds. For seriously ill people, an IV will be started, oxygen given, and a heart monitor used until the symptoms have improved with medications.

      For those bites and stings that lead to transmission of pathogenic organisms, the next step is to see health care professionals to obtain a definitive diagnosis so appropriate treatment(s) may be done. The treatments for diseases that are transmitted are designed for each disease the reader should go to the diagnosed disease for specific treatment plans. These include:

      In the emergency department, you may be instructed how to use an emergency kit in case of future stings to prevent a severe reaction that could result in death. The anaphylaxis kit contains an epinephrine injector, tourniquet, and an antihistamine.

      You may be referred to an allergist for desensitization therapy. After testing to determine which venom you are sensitive to, the doctor will gradually increase the doses of venom injected over time. Desensitization is usually effective in preventing a severe reaction to future stings.


      Insect Bites and Stings Prevention

      You can minimize your exposure to insect bites and stings by changing your patterns of activity or behavior.

      • Have a professional exterminator or hive keeper remove or destroy nest or hives of biting or stinging insects or bugs do not attempt such actions by yourself.
      • Some vector mosquitoes are most active in twilight periods at dawn and dusk or in the evening, so avoid outdoor activity during these periods. Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats to minimize the areas of exposed skin. Shirts should be tucked in.
      • Use insect repellants. Repellents applied to clothing, shoes, tents, mosquito nets, and other gear will enhance protection.
        • Permethrin-containing repellents (Permanone) are recommended for use on clothing, shoes, bed nets, and camping gear. Permethrin is highly effective as an insecticide/acaricide (against ticks and mites) and as a repellent. Permethrin-treated clothing repels and kills ticks, mosquitoes, and other arthropods and retains this effect after repeated laundering. Such treated clothing is thought to pose little danger for poisoning to humans wearing it.
        • Repellents containing DEET (N,N-diethylmetatoluamide) as an active ingredient are recommended by most authorities. Formulations containing 30% DEET or less are recommended by some researchers because the additional gain in repellent effect with higher concentrations is not significant when weighed against the potential for toxicity, which include rare cases of encephalopathy (brain infection) in children. Follow the directions on the bottle or spray can to avoid toxicity to children and adults.

        Insect Bites and Stings Prognosis

        Most people respond well to home or emergency treatment for bug bites or stings. People with very severe allergic reactions or those who do not respond to initial treatment will often require hospital admission for further treatment and monitoring. A severe episode may be fatal in spite of appropriate medical treatment.

        For people who get a disease transferred from insect/bug bites or stings, the outlook depends on the disease transmitted, how quickly it is diagnosed, appropriately treated and the overall health of the individual. Outlooks or prognoses of these diseases may vary from good to occasionally poor if organs are permanently damaged.

        Lice bites are almost too small to see.

        Head lice are tiny, parasitic insects that live on the human scalp and feed on blood. Their bites are usually almost too small to see but can itch fiercely.

        The CDC reported that head lice do not carry any disease or bacteria, though some people may develop a large rash from multiple lice bites. Body lice, however, can carry disease, according to the CDC . Lice are spread via direct person-to-person contact and cannot jump or live longer than 48 hours off of a human host.

        What are the internal parts?

        The internal parts of female sexual anatomy (or what’s typically referred to as female) include:

        The vagina is a tube that connects your vulva with your cervix and uterus. It’s what babies and menstrual blood leave the body through. It’s also where some people put penises, fingers, sex toys, menstrual cups, and/or tampons. Your vagina is really stretchy, and expands when you feel turned on.

        The cervix divides your vagina and uterus, located right between the two. It looks like a donut with a tiny hole in the middle. This hole connects your uterus and your vagina. It lets menstrual blood out and sperm in. Your cervix stretches open (dilates) during childbirth.

        You can usually feel your cervix at the end of your vagina if you insert your fingers, a penis, or a sex toy into your vagina. Your cervix separates your vagina from the rest of your body, so things like tampons or other objects can’t get “lost” inside of you.

        The uterus is a pear-shaped muscular organ about the size of a small fist. It’s sometimes called the womb because it’s where a fetus grows during pregnancy. During sexual arousal, the lower part of your uterus lifts toward your belly button. That’s why your vagina gets longer when you’re turned on. It’s called “tenting.”

        Fallopian tubes
        The fallopian tubes are 2 narrow tubes. They carry eggs from your ovaries to your uterus. Sperm travels through them to try to fertilize your egg.

        The fimbriae look like tiny fingers at the end of each fallopian tube. When your ovary releases an egg, they sweep it into your fallopian tube.

        The ovaries store your eggs. They also produce hormones, including estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. These hormones control things like your period and pregnancy. During puberty, your ovaries start to release an egg each month. They do so until menopause. Sometimes your ovaries release more than one egg.

        Bartholin’s glands
        The Bartholin’s glands are near your vaginal opening. They release fluid that lubricates your vagina (makes it wet) when you’re turned on.

        Skene’s glands
        The Skene’s glands are on either side of your urethral opening. They release fluid during female ejaculation.They’re also called paraurethral glands or female prostate glands.

        The hymen is the thin, fleshy tissue that stretches across part of the opening to the vagina. Hymens vary a lot in how much of your vaginal opening they cover, and they can sometimes (but not always) tear and cause bleeding the first few times you put something in your vagina.

        G spot
        The G spot, or Gräfenberg spot, is located a few inches inside your vagina on the front wall. Your G spot can swell when you’re turned on. Some people like the feeling of having their G spot touched.


        The dusky cotton bug (Oxycarenus laetus, KIRBY) a pest of several crops. The effects of winter and summer on the biology and morphology was investigated. The sampled eggs of dusky cotton bug (DCB) were kept under controlled environment for biological and morphological investigations. In winter, the mating duration of DCB was observed longer significantly (74.2 days), egg development period (3.93 days), an egg laying period (3.6 days) and hatching period (6.66 days) noted longer in winter season. Interestingly, average number of hatched egg (16.8 days) observed significantly higher in summer and the percentage of the hatching of eggs (81.95%) were also observed higher in summer as compare to winter. Whereas, the longevity of all nymph stages in winter longer days as compare to summer nymph stages. Moreover, differences were also observed between male and female development days between winter and summer. In the winter, female DCB development was suggestively higher as compare to summer (24 days). Whereas, the developmental days were noted considerably more in winter for males as compare to summer (14.93 days). On other hand, for morphological parameters, no differences were observed between winter and summer population of DCB.

        Watch the video: So löst du diese 8 Probleme, die der Sommer mit sich bringt (June 2022).


  1. Kam

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