Watch out for Robbers and Assassins

An assassin bug sucking the life out of a soldier beetle

An assassin bug sucking the life out of a soldier beetle

Sounds like a violent start to the year but it is all part of the life in our garden at the moment. First  I noticed an assassin bug attacking a plague soldier beetle.

There has been a fair bit of interest in these beetles since I wrote about them last year so it was interesting to see a predator in action.

Assassin bugs use their proboscis (a special mouthpart designed for sucking up liquids) to impale their prey (insects and spiders) and inject powerful saliva that turns the prey’s body contents to liquid. It then sucks up the juices through the proboscis, which acts like a straw.

A robber fly

A robber fly

Next I heard a frantic buzzing and noticed a robber fly. Robber flies often get trapped under the clear polycarbonate sheet on our verandah.

They are strong and fast flying insects that hunt other insects. Look out plague soldier beetles.

They inject an enzymes into their prey to dissolve the body tissues to aid digestion. The feet and legs have sharp spines that help the robber fly to grasp their food.

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