Killer Insects: 6 Natural Born Anthropod Assassins
Guest article submitted by Lost in Arizona
These deadly insects are naturally designed to kill. The effects of their bites range from painful to deadly for humans, and they inject their prey with lethal salivary secretions that immobilize them and ease ingestion and digestion. These six represent some of the stranger and more interesting assassins of the insect world.
Wheel Bug (Arilus Cristatus)
(images via: mean and pinchy and nickso)
This is one of the largest terrestrial bugs in North America, growing up to about 2 inches. Noticeable on its back is what looks like a wheel or cog. These vicious predators prey on caterpillars and beetles, piercing their prey with a large beak and injecting enzyme fluids, paralyzing their prey, and slowly dissolving their victim’s insides. Being bitten by a wheel bug is excruciating, and often times the wound can take months to heel, leaving a noticeable scar.
Bee Assassin (Apiomerus crassipes)
These little killers have hairs on their legs that allow them to catch and hold onto their prey. While they certainly love to catch and eat bees, they are equally opportunistic when it comes to other prey. They ambush their victims and immobilize them with toxic venomous secretions.
Spined Assassin (Sinea Diadema)
(images via: myriorama)
The spined assassin bug is a darkish brown to dull reddish-brown color. The front legs and body are covered in spines. If hungry, the spined assassin bug will resort to cannibalism, eating surrounding siblings. Bites are painful and can cause a burning, itching sensation, as well as swelling at the site of the bite.
African Assassin Bug (Platymeris biguttata)
(images via: bsmith4815, kitlkat and tlindenbaum)
A voracious hunter this insect reputedly has venom ten times deadlier than a cobra. A California zookeeper nearly died while cleaning an enclosure full of these. They are capable of downing prey larger than themselves and are one of the deadliest kinds of insects in the world.
Black Corsair (Melanolestes picipes)
(images via: Dayna R)
They will run down their prey in their hunt for food. They’ve been known to suck the blood of rodents, and even humans. Disturbingly enough, they prefer to go for eyes and lips.
Masked Hunter (Reduvius Personatus)
(images via: imarsman, memanh, collin purrington and wikimedia)
During its immature phases, the legs of this insect contain hairs which pick up lint and dust, making it look like an innocent little fur ball from a distance. They readily hunt other bugs, but will easily bite humans if provoked. Their bites are extremely painful and on par with many forms of snake bite.