Zelus luridus

Lurid Assassin Bug

Zelus luridus, Assassin Bugs, Reduviidae




Family: Reduviidae

Subfamily: Harpactorinae

Length: Males 12.5 - 15.5 mm. Females 14 - 18 mm


Writing of Zelus assassins, Blatchley (1926) wrote:

"Our species, when first captured, usually have the front legs thickly covered with pollen grains, bits of petals, small seeds and other minute parts of plants; also adherent to the hairs between the front tibiae and femora, are numerous dead bodies of plant lice, rove beetles and other small insects, the juices of which have served them as food. It is probable, therefore, that they explore the heads of flowers with their forelegs in search of such prey and that particles of the plants and insects become attached by a viscid secretion exuded by the hairs."

A special note about the name Zelus exsanguis. For many years examples of Zelus luridus with variations of the usual color, markings, and other traits, were mistakenly described as new species. In 1894 Champion synonomized many of these, and Zelus exsanguis was now the most name most often applied to such bugs. In actuality, though, Zelus exsanguis is a rare species in the United States, with a single specimen ever collected in the country, in El Paso. All records of Zelus exsanguis, save that one El Paso specimen, should actually be recorded as Zelus luridus.

See also our notes on how to determine eastern species of genus Zelus.

Head and spines, Zelus luridus, Assassin Bug, Reduviidae

Zelus luridus assassin bug in lateral view

The above photos were taken in Upshur County, West Virginia.

The one below was taken in Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Manitoba, photo of Zelus luridus, family Reduviidae

American Insects site