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Milkweed Assassin Bug (Zelus longipes)

Milkweed Assassin Bug (Zelus longipes)
Photo Information
Copyright: Haraprasan Nayak (haraprasan) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1570 W: 101 N: 5421] (20403)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-08-30
Categories: Insects
Camera: Nikon Coolpix E5600
Exposure: f/5.9, 1/150 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Superb Macros [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-01-25 4:14
Viewed: 8751
Points: 56
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Nearly 3000 species of assassin bugs exist and scientists feel that many more will be discovered. These insects can be commonly found throughout most of the world. They vary in size from a few millimeters to as much as 3 or 4 centimeters. They come in many colors and shapes and most species have two pairs of wings. However, ALL assassin bugs have a powerful, curved rostrum, or beak, that they use to pierce and suck out the tissues of their prey.

Assassin bugs feed by external digestion, which means that they push their beak into their victims body and inject a very toxic, or poisonous, liquid that affects the nerves and liquifies the muscles and tissues of their prey. Most other insects that eat like this have two tubes in their beak; one for injecting the fluid and one for sucking in their food. But assassin bugs have only one large tube that does both jobs. This larger tube allows them to inject a larger amount of the toxic digestive fluid so that prey many times their size can be quickly overcome. Once the insides of the prey are turned into a liquid, the assassin bug uses its rostrum to suck out the liquified tissues in much the same way we use a straw to drink a milkshake!

Assassin bugs get their name because of the speed that they have to grab and poison their prey. They are carnivorous, or meat eaters, and use their powerful, jack-knife forelegs to grab their prey. They have sticky pads on these front legs, made up of thousands of tiny hairs, that stick to their victims and keep them from getting away. Some assassin bugs actively hunt their prey, while others patiently wait until their prey comes close enough to grab. The saliva of the assassin bug starts to work almost immediately. Cockroaches have been seen to die in only 3 or 4 seconds, and caterpillars more than 400 times their weight can die in only 10 seconds! A feast this size can last for days or even weeks.

Not all assasin bugs feed on insects and other invertebrates. Some tropical species attack mammals, birds, and reptiles and actually suck their blood!

Most assasin bugs lay their eggs in the autumn in cracks and crevices that contain lots of leaves. The eggs hatch in the following spring and the nymphs look very much like the adults, except thry are smaller. Assassin bugs go through incomplete metamorphosis (egg-nymph-adult). After hatching from the egg, the nymph passes through five instars (growth stages). The nymph molts at the end of each instar, becoming an adult after the final molt. Adults often are the stage that live through the winter, and they begin a new generation in the spring.

This insect preys on other insects and benefits people because they help reduce populations of certain pest species. But assassin bugs themself are preyed on by many enemies, especially birds and reptiles. Some species have developed a unique defense where they use their beak to squirt their venom at their attacker as far as a foot away! Their saliva can cause severe irritation of the eyes and nose and even temporary blindness in humans!

class - Insecta
order - Hemiptera
sub-order - Heteroptera
family - Reduviidae

I think this one is a Milkweed Assassin Bug (Zelus longipes) But I am not sure. Need experts help.

Thanks a lot for viewing.

Argus, cataclysta, jusninasirun, matatur, rousettus, uleko, mariki, cicindela, jaycee, Jamesp, Juyona, dejo, angybone, pablominto, boreocypriensis has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To cicindela: Thank you againharaprasan 1 01-26 00:50
To loot: Thank youharaprasan 1 01-26 00:41
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-01-25 4:20]

Hello neighbour,
Superb macro of a red assasin bug with great sharpness and detail and contrasting well against the green leaf from a fine POV. Great ambient lighting as well.
Well done Haraprasan, and thanks for sharing this beauty,

Hi Haraprasan
Beautiful bug. I have never seen so colorful bug. Great sharpness, great vivid colors
Very good job and interesting subject

Good one! Very vivid colors! Bravo! Cheers, Klaus

Hello Haraprasan,

Brilliant looking bug. The red and black contrasting well against the green background. Sharp details and very good looking indeed. I hope you won't mind if I add this in my theme.

Best regards,


  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2008-01-25 4:45]

Hi Hara,perfect under all corners of view,not easy to made so perfect,very great work and usefull note,thanks for share,Luciano

Merhaba Haraprasan,
Being an assasin or not, the bug you present us with looks beautifully shaped and colored from your viewpoint and that bright-green foilage really enhances your composition. Thanks also for the detailed (and a little blood-curdling) information.

merhaba Haraprasan,
Where did you find it? It is very beautiful and splendid coloured. Your capture also great with great sharpness and amazing details. Green leave very nice for BG, its colors supply more contrast on bug's red and black parts. informative and good notes. TFS, well done my friend

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-01-25 5:43]

Hello Haraprasan,
What a splendid macro of this bright Assassin bug. Excellent DOF, impressive details, beautiful light and fine colours. It stands out very nicely against the green leaf. Well done! Interesting note too!
Many thanks and regards, Ulla

  • Great 
  • crs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 469 W: 0 N: 922] (3551)
  • [2008-01-25 5:45]

Hello Haraprasan,

Very good macro. Excelen colors and DOF. I like the way you used the frame as it gives more depth to the photo. Lighting is excelent making you feel as near the living bug.

Hello Haraprasan,

Nice picture of this assasin bug. Very good sharpness and great colours.
Well done,

Hello again! ;)
This time the "most recent photo" :)
Lovely colours aof interesting bug species. I like POV which allow to see the shape of insect and its different colured wings. For me the contrast between insect and leaf looks also very nice :)
Bravo and best regards,

incredible image and colours
great work. cARME.

Hi Haraprasan, superb macro of wonderful bug with splendid colors, great details and excellent sharpness, very well done, have a good week end, ciao Silvio

dear haraprasan,
i am not regular these days at posting or writing critiques, i just saw your galery and was glad to see the work you did in recent past, your 200th shot is awesome,i hope to see the new camera pictures soon, this is a fine capture of this colourful insect, i liked the pov and the composition, the image is very sharp and the colours are well saturated,
well done,
tfs & regards

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-01-25 8:58]

Hi Haraprasan,

I am amazed by the assortment of insects you present. This is a marvelous macro - looks like you picked it up and placed it on the leaf in the pose you wanted. Superb details and wonderful colors.


  • Great 
  • loot Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
  • [2008-01-25 8:58]
  • [3] [+]

Good day MR. Haraprasan

Certainly a fine top view of this lovely bug you captured. Hey, this "nature thing" has really got hold of us, didn't it? Calling (assassin) bugs and (robber) flies and all other manner of scary creepy crawlies lovely or beautiful (chuckle). No, there is beautiful and there is beautiful and this is definitely BEAUTIFUL.

The red and black colours are in stark contrast to the bright green BG formed by the leaf and it makes the insect stand out in the frame. The details are well captured by the appropriate DOF and the exposure was excellently controlled showing great contrasts and textures in the black and red areas on the insect.

Well done and TFS.

PS1. Don't worry about my health; I am fine at the moment. Miss Piggy is taking exceptionally good care of me. Thanks so much for your appreciated concern and also for your excellent and cordial manners you always present. It is a great characteristic or attribute you posses and always so pleasing to read one of your critiques, but you are most welcome to call me Loot and Miss Piggy is comfortable with and responds quite well to Anna.

PS2. Sorry I missed your 200th posting, but a BIG CONGRATULATION on the fabulous milestone and may the still be many more to follow. Your portfolio is growing into an impressive collection of fine photos. Great stuff MF.

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2008-01-25 8:59]

Hi Haraprasan

Great colours here, plus excellent detail and exposure.



  • Great 
  • batu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1079 W: 293 N: 4497] (16383)
  • [2008-01-25 9:33]

Hello Haraprasan,
a nice presentation of this colourful bug.
I like the achieved sharpness of the surface structures which is also due to the exact focusing.
The colour contrast between leaf and bug is ver attractive.
Best wishes, Peter

Ciao haraprasan,
splendida e coloratissima specie, che ci presenti con un'ottima immagine.
Mi piace soprattutto il contrasto fra il rosso acceso dell'insetto e il verde della foglia.

Hello Prasan,
This is really a good fine macro of a bug!
the exposure and focus is spot on in total sharpness, vivid colour and details in the shot
well done
have a wonderful weekend
friend Tony

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-01-25 13:25]

Hi Haraprasan,
impressive shot of this deadly Assasin Bug!
It really stands out against the green BG.
I love the shadow.
Well done,

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2008-01-25 13:58]

Hola Haraprasan,
excelente macro,
color y detalles...
buen pov,

Impresionante y bella captura Hara. Los colores son encantadores y el fondo muy adecuado. Buen enfoque y una excelente luz.
Saludos: J. Ignasi

  • Great 
  • dejo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 344 W: 51 N: 520] (2242)
  • [2008-01-25 19:20]

Hi Harapresan,
great macro picture, beautiful pose captured and lovely colors,
nice, green background,
best regards, Dejan

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-01-26 2:45]

Hello Araprasan,
Fantastic photo with perfect clear contrasting colours and great sharp details. Very good DOF and POV.

Amazing color! So brilliant and vivid! Wonderful!!!
Great focus/sharpness. well done!

Hello Haraprasan,
This is a great capture with super details!
The colour pattern really makes the fellow stand out, and the strong green background enhances the insect even more...
An effective composition, and I notice with pleasure the fine shadow!
Pablo -

Hi My beloved friend Haraprasan,

An excellent capture of this red assassin bug in a fine composition. Details, sharpness and BG great my friend.
TFS and cheers,

Ps. In this season, every Monday and Tueasday I have got so many obligations in both diurnal and nocturnal education. therefore, in these days I have limited time for the feedback. Hence I can make my comments/critiques at the night time after resting. sorry for the delaying...

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