Milkweed Assassin Bug

A handsome milkweed assassin bug (Zelus longipes), wandering along one of the tombs in St. Louis Cemetery No 1 in New Orleans. These brightly-colored, long-legged insects are ambush hunters, believe it or not, which stroll idly along foliage, reaching out to grasp prey with their front legs.

Most species of Zelus seem to be cryptically colored (camouflaged), but Z. longipes gets way with being bright orange and black.

They are related to the wheelbug, and have a heavy-duty proboscis under that tiny head. They aren’t interested in eating humans, but they will jam that pointy thing in your hand if you annoy them.

Unfortunately, I am not yet adept enough at flies to identify this milkweed assassin bug’s “companion”. I will note that he (probably “he”, given the shape of the eyes) did make a successful escape.

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