Daily Archives: 05/10/2012

The most badass bug on planet Earth wears its slain enemies like body armor.

If you’re going to be a bug, you might as well be the most badass bug in existence. And a good candidate for such a title might go to the assassin bug of Malaysia, a predatory insect that wears the bodies of its slain victims all over its body as armor. That’s what I would do if I were a bug.

Once its potential lunch has been incapacitated the assassin bug injects it with an enzyme. This liquefies the insides of its prey allowing the assassin bug to suck out their innards. Yet death is not the end for these hapless insects. Their exoskeletons will be put to further use as a form of armor or possibly scent masking camouflage.

The heap is stuck together by a sticky secretion. As it is usually larger than the bug itself, should another insect decide that the assassin would be good for its next meal it serves as a readymade getaway plan. The attacker goes for the larger part (the hollow exoskeletons) which are then simply shed, allowing the assassin bug to beat a hasty retreat.

This amazing insect (Acanthaspis petax) belongs to the Reduviidae – which consists of about 7000 species, making it almost the largest family in the true bugs (or hemiptera) order. Although fascinating it is perhaps a relief to learn that just a few species make a habit of lugging the emptied out carcasses of their victims around with them!


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