Zelus luridus, the Pale Green Assassin Bug killing a small fly on a basswood leaf (Shelburne Pond, Shelburne)

Assassins on the prowl

I’ve been seeing this insect for years and it wasn’t until last year when I got a picture and submitted to BugGuide.net’s ID Request that I found out what it is: the pale green assassin bug. They look like tiny praying mantises with bright red eyes, and they usually just appear on my shoulder, a backpack or occasionally a leaf. It wasn’t until today that I got to see it in action. Well, sort of. I missed it making the actual kill. But I did arrive in time to see it stick its mouth part inside the fly and start sucking its vital juices out. The fly appears to have landed on unfurling basswood leaves that had been lashed together by a leaf roller caterpillar (I pulled these away to capture the photograph).

Zelus luridus, the Pale Green Assassin Bug killing a small fly on a basswood leaf (Shelburne Pond, Shelburne)

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