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Cimex lectularius

Cimex lectularius
Photo Information
Copyright: Dietrich Meyer (meyerd) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 585 W: 64 N: 2238] (7531)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-12-08
Categories: Insects
Camera: Konika Minolta Dynax 7D, Minolta AF 100 Macro & Kenko tube
Exposure: f/16, 1/125 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes (Fill) Flash: Yes
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Heteroptera of Europe+Turkey-1 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-12-09 9:03
Viewed: 6826
Points: 14
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
All you NEVER wanted to know about parasites:

I found this 5.5 mm long adult female Bed bug (Rhynchota; Cimicidae; Cimex lectularius L.; Bettwanze; Punaise de lit) in a chalet in the mountains. I took it along for ID and a self-test. For the test result I can say this: as soon as I offered the small finger to the bug it started to climb on it and sink its mouthpieces into my skin, in full daylight. The bug has the reputation of a sneaky night attacker but this one must have been hungry. Second, after two minutes of sucking I did'nt feel a thing, nor did any pimple develop as it usually does. You may notice the blackish abdomen, the rest of a former blood meal shining through the cuticle. The red blood in the middle of the abdomen is mine! See the bug from ventral.

My father used to encounter bed bugs in military camps during WW II (yes, neutral Switzerland was also up in arms then) but I had never seen the bugs alive until now. A resurgence of the pest is noticed all over Europe, even in posh hotels. That may have to do with the actual reluctance to use strong insecticides that are dangerous to human health and the environment as those used after WW II. And the bugger travels easily with sleeping bags. The discovery reminded me of the fact that humanity is beleaguered by a whole bunch of parasites, be it protists, worms, insects, bacteria or virus. Only the rich have escaped the plagues and only recently so. Welcome all back in the kingdom of the parasites! If every species on Earth has its own bunch of parasites, then the parasites themselves should have parasites in turn. Indeed Wolbachia bacteria readily attack Bed bugs.

To me the sight of a biting parasite unfailingly brings back memories of the movie "Limelight" by the genial Charles Chaplin, I think of the funny/sad scene of the Flea circus and Phyllis, the naughty flea.

ID: there are five species of Cimicidae in Europe, they look all similar . The Bed bug is with 5.5 mm the biggest of them and the only one adapted to man as its host. The Bird bugs and Bat bugs are smaller, 4.5 mm, The Swallow bug does not have the filiform 3rd and 4th antennal segments. Lit.: Stresemann, 2005, Exkursionsfauna von Deutschland. Elsevier.

cataclysta, jazdzurka, marhowie, Heaven, anel, cicindela, jpdenk has marked this note useful
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To cicindela: Lecturing on parasitesmeyerd 1 12-10 12:03
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Dietrich
Very special presentation. Rare object. I have seen this species only two times. Very good photo of this blodsucking insect. Good sharpness and host as a background ;-)

Hi Dietrich
Very good picture of not nice insect. I can admit that I haven't seen Cimex alive before. I know it only from slides that we are showing to our biology students. However, I'va also heard that different parasites are coming back. For example louses Pediculus humanus.
So your presentation is very informative, thanks for sharing, and hope you won't meet it again ;)

Hi Dietrich,
ich kann nun nicht wirklich sagen, dass mir dieses Kerlchen gefällt - sorry - allein die Vorstellung so einen Gesellen im Bett vorzufinden versetzt mich in Grausen!
Aber erstklassig fotografiert und wirklich interessant, solch einen Artgenossen mal so nahe zu sehen, ohne dass er einen beissen kann ;-) Vielen Dank, ganz toll,
Sabine - wishnugaruda

  • Great 
  • Heaven Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 996 W: 123 N: 2341] (7912)
  • [2008-12-09 21:41]

Hallo Dieter!

Du zeigst uns hier nicht nur ein interessantes Bild, sondern erzählst auch eine spannende Geschichte. Ich hoffe allerdings, nicht allzu viele dieser Dingerchen in meinem Bett vorzufinden...



  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2008-12-10 5:13]

Lieber Dieter,
Rossinières ist für mich mit dem Maler Balthus verbunden. Du aber, wie könnte es anders sein, kommst mit einer Bettwanze!! Das Thema ist interessant, nicht gerade geläufig hier auf TN. Bin sehr froh die Kreatur einmal vergrössert zu sehen;so schlimm sieht sie ja gar nicht aus. Auch sehe ich, dass Du ihr deinen Finger sogar zur Verfügung gestellt hast. Das allerdings hätte ich nicht gemacht.
Gut gemacht und interessante Notiz
Herzliche Grüsse

Hehehe! Believe me or not but today I had a lecture for my students just about... insect parasites, including this one! :)
Great capture Dietrich, espcially that it is not easy to find this species in these days!!! Nothing to add, this photo is one of the best picture of Cimex in the internet! (Believe me, I was looking for good photos to my lecture :>)
All the best from Lodz,

Hello Dietrich,

It never fails to surprise me when I see what nature photographers will do for a photo! That's one that I hope to never experience myself.

Nice macro shot, shows this little beast very clearly.


  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-12-11 13:29]

What a horrible thing!
"Good night! Don't let the Bed Bugs bite!" :-P
Very good clarity and detail.
Excellent colours.

Well done,

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