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Friday, February 11, 2011

Tiny spotted-leg Assassin Bug, on Sundew

As yet I have been unable to get an ID on this little bug.*** DJW edit: My Aussie Nature Blog colleague Boobook  has come to my rescue - it is called a Drosera Bug.... Of course it would be called that! Many thanks Boobook.
All I know is that it is clearly an Assassin Bug. (Closely related, it seems, but not quite what I thought it was.) But on the few sites I have found so far which cover Australian Assassin Bugs, I have found nothing like it.

The first image is of the stem of a "Forked Sundew"  Drosera binata
This plant has fibres, each with a dot of glue and enzymes
with which it dissolves its insect prey.
Looking closely, you will see a bug with a red mark at the back of the head,
and spots along the wings.
What I first noticed was that this insect (just over 1 cm long)
was able to walk along this plant without getting caught by the sticky spots. 
It has long legs, holding itself above the sticky dots.
Presumably it is attracted to the Sundew in order to feed on smaller insects
trapped by the Sundew.
Click to enlarge the image.
A tiny spotted Assassin Bug (sp???)

Note the red colour of the insect, and its white legs, with red spots.
It is camouflaged with the red spots on the Sundew.
Click to enlarge the image.
This Assassin Bug uses its long legs to walk above the sticky dots of the Sundew.
 This is a closer image of the Assassin Bug's head.
Click the image to enlarge it.
Any help or suggestions would be welcomed - even giving me the name of an expert to whom I might refer this to would be appreciated.
DJW edit: Further to Boobook's name suggestion (above), there are far better photos of Drosera Bugs and also good information here, on Myrmician's Flickr Site.

I believe this is a Midge. The antennae are really prominent.
They look like a pair of fans spread widely.
This insect is fatally trapped by the plant.
You can see that a fresh insect like this would be perfect "prey"
for the Assassin Bug to simply walk up and 
drain the juices of the trapped insect.
Click to enlarge.
Midge (???) trapped on the Sundew.
PS: Can you find a better reason for linking with fellow Nature Bloggers?
My ID question was answered within hours. Thanks Boobook.


Boobook said...

Hi Denis
It's a Drosera Bug. I'm not the expert. Jean is, at

Miridae: Setocoris sp Drosera bug

Order: Hemiptera
Suborder: Heteroptera
Family: Miridae
subfamily: [?]
genus: Setocoris

I'd love to see one myself - I live in ope :)

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks so much, Boobook.
It certainly looks like it (and is described appropriately). Drosera Bug.
Puzzled by what appears to be the Rostrum, the syringe-like feeder tube, which is said to be typical of Assassin Bugs. Apart from that,it certainly looks very close.
That sp. comes from WA.
I shall try to follow up with the person responsible for that part of the Australian Faunal Directory.
Many thanks for alerting me to Jean's Flickr Site.
I shall follow up with her, too, and I'll go back and try to find another specimen (as soon as it stops raining).

catmint said...

fascinating post. what an incentive to grow sundews.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Catmint.
Sundews are wonderful plants, but not sure how they go in the garden.
If you have a mossy or boggy bit, you might be able to.
The tall "Forked Sundew" grown in wet areas, here. The tiny ones like moss beds.