Arthropods

Arthropods

Sycanus collaris Assassin Bugs

One thing that always fascinates me in the forest are it's natural cycles, and just how the natural world follows these cycles. Elephants migrate to different forest areas during the differing seasons, orchids sense their own optimum time to flower and some insects aggregate according to their own evolutionary reproduction plan.

Yesterday was one of those times. I have not seen an Assassin Bug in Dong Phaya Yen for months. Yesterday one species, Sycanus collaris, were literally all over, at low elevations and high, males and females, was it some aggregation triggered by a natural cycle only they were aware of? I will probably never know. I made proverbial hay whilst the sun shone and snapped away with my camera like there was no tomorrow. I even saw one assassin bug feeding which was a first for me.

Assassin bugs are serious predators of other insects. They use a long piercing and feeding tube called a rostrum to inject a lethal saliva that liquefies the insides of the prey, which they then suck out. Their saliva is commonly effective at killing substantially larger prey than the bug itself. This individual had located a chrysalis and devoured the unfortunate host before it had time to develop into what nature had intended.

Interestingly, whilst I was going through the photographs I noticed that the assassin bugs were not the only insects in my pictures. You can clearly see two minute bees, presumably feeding or drinking off something on one assassin bugs body. In the other shot you can clearly see mites of some kind on the prey chrysalis as well as on the leaf close to the prey. Are they there by intention or by accident? Yet another question I will probably not come across an answer to from the complex natural world that surrounds us.

 

Photo of Assassin Bug feeding

Sycanus collaris Assassin bug feeding

Photo of Bird Dropping Spider

Sycanus collaris Assassin bug feeding, note the mites also

Photo of Assassin Bug

Sycanus collaris Assassin bug, note the minute flies possibly feeding off secretions on the insect

 

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"Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius." > Edward O. Wilson

"An understanding of the Natural World and whats in it is a source of not only a great curiosity but great fulfillment." > Sir David Attenborough

“Climb up on some hill at sunrise.  Everybody needs perspective once in a while, and you’ll find it there.” > Robb Sagendorph