Genus Zelus in eastern North America

Assassin Bugs


For those who are bug hunting in North America east of the Mississippi River, here is what you need to know about members of the genus Zelus you'll encounter (Hart, 1986).


  • Zelus tetracanthus. Males 10.5-14.5 mm. Females 13.5-16.5 mm. Range: Southern Canada, United States, Central and South America.
  • Zelus luridus. Males 12.5-15.5 mm. Females 14-18 mm. Range: southern Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, every eastern U.S. state, west to North Dakota and Arizona, south to Vera Cruz and Oaxaca.
  • Zelus cervicalis. Male 10.0 - 13.5 mm. Females 13.5 - 15.5 mm. Range: Southeastern United States, Arizona, Mexico, Central America, Colombia.
  • Zelus longipes. Male 14 - 19 mm. Females 15.5 - 20.5. Range: Southeastern United States, southwest Arizona, southern California, Mexico, Caribbean, Central America, most of South America.
  • Note that a number of works including Slater and Baranowski How to Know the True Bugs (1978) and Arnett, Insects of North America, list Zelus exsanguis as a commonly found species. For a special note about this name, see our Zelus luridus page.


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