Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    atropicta
    Genus
    Tegea
    Subfamily
    Tegeinae
    Family
    Reduviidae
    Super Family
    Reduvioidea
    Suborder
    Heteroptera
    Infraorder
    Cimicomorpha
    Order
    Hemiptera
    Class
    Insecta
    Subphylum
    Uniramia
    Phylum
    Arthopoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    1.6 cm

Introduction

Assassin bugs are a large family of bugs (Reduviidae) that are found everywhere in Australia.

Habitat

The Termite Assassin Bug lives in urban areas, coastal heath, forests and woodlands.

Feeding and diet

Unlike most bugs which feed on plant juices, assassin bugs are predators. They ambush their prey, usually other insects such as beetles or caterpillars, piercing them with their curved mouthparts (rostrum). Once the prey has been punctured and is held fast, the assassin injects a powerful saliva. This fluid immobilises the prey and dissolves its tissues.

The Termite Assassin Bug is a specialist predator of termites which are found on trees or fallen logs. It positions itself above a termite tunnel and inserts its rostrum into it. When the termites discover the intrusion they attack it and are impaled and sucked dry by the bug. This species of assassin bug can continue to feed for an hour or more while the worker termites continually clear up the empty shells of their dead colleagues from the tunnel below.

Predators

Management