Tuesday, April 21, 2009


This morning I sat on our front step enjoying a cup of tea and the unexpected sunshine. The forecast was for rain, and it is raining now, but for about half an hour this morning it was lovely.

While I was sitting there, half asleep still, I saw a bug moving across the ground in front of me. It was red and black, and I leaped up. A couple of years ago we had an invasion of Australian redbacked spiders in the area, and were warned about it. I had never seen one, but maybe this was it! I hovered for moment, knowing I should step on it. But instead, I dashed inside to get my camera.

By the time I came back I was more awake. In fact I was awake enough to see that although the bug was red and black, it in no way even remotely resembled a spider. I should not attempt bug identification when I am half asleep.

I took a photo anyway, confident that The Man would be able to identify it for me.

He couldn't. He thought at first it was a stink bug, but it is the wrong shape entirely. Trying to Google it did not help. It also doesn't help that these are not great pictures. The size of the bug is a bit over one centimeter, I guess. (That stone is a little less than 3 cm top to bottom, which gives some idea of scale.)

Does anybody know what it is?


Badaunt said...

This bug has been bugging me. The nearest thing I can find to it on the web is the Termite Assassin Bug, which, as far as I can see, is found only in Australia.

Help! Have we been invaded by Australian bugs?

Tabor said...

I think it is a Conenose bug...or Assassin bug. At least that is what they are here in the U.S.

Badaunt said...

Thank you! I think you are right - it is, in Japanese, an おおさしがめえ - oosashigame. At least that is the translation for a Conenose bug. The pictures I found when I Googled Conenose bug lead me to conclude that the one I found was an >Eastern Bloodsucking Conenose.

Reading about its nasty little habits makes me wish I had stepped on it!

Keera Ann Fox said...

I saw a similar bug when I lived in the high desert of southern California as a child. We called them ticks, though, but that could be a local name. My ticks look like your assassin bugs.

Mr Curley said...

Ayi, what a horror! glad we don't have them here (in Australia) - compared to these critters, Redback spiders are easy to live with!

(Redbacks live behind washing machines, under troughs, under toilet seats. They have a low capacity to penetrate human skin, except in tender places. Y'all can fill in the rest of this...)