Zelus renardii (Hemiptera: Reduviidae)
Back in December we did another Hawaiian drosophila survey in Halona Valley, Lualualei. Since the flies we were looking for come out at sunrise and sunset, we had to set up camp at the site. We stayed for two nights and had a great time. The best thing for me, I think, was searching around for interesting insects and other critters later in the night after we finished the fly work. I found an interesting assassin bug cruising around the top of a little tree seedling, and I think I must have watched it for about a half an hour at least. At first I thought maybe it was native, but Steve (Montgomerey) informed that it was a species of Zelus, which is non-native. Nevertheless, I took a few photos.
As I was watching, it came upon a Cixiid (Oliarus). I thought for a second, when it reared up (see photo above), that I was going to witness firsthand the effects of an invasive predator on a hapless native plant feeder, but unfortunately nothing happened. The assassin bug apparently didn’t have a hit out on the Cixiid, because it then showed no interest in it. Shortly thereafter the Cixiid took flight – probably a smart move.
From Volume 3 of Zimmerman’s “Insects of Hawaii” (which, by the way, is now online at http://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/handle/10125/1768 ) we read that there are 3 subfamilies of reduvids in Hawaii: Ploiariinae, Triatominae, and Harpactorinae. I think there are two native genera in the Ploinaiinae, but the other two subfamilies are completely non-native. There is a good chance this info is not quite up to date, since it is from the ’50s, so I wouldn’t take this as verified truth.
My little assassin bug, Zelus renardii, is in Harpactorinae. Evidently it has quite a reputation as a predator of leafhoppers, and over the years has earned the name of “The Leafhopper Assassin Bug.” First found in Hawaii by Perkins in 1897, it is believed to be an immigrant from Western North America.