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Zelus renardii (Hemiptera: Reduviidae)

February 27, 2010

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.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 28, 2011 4:50 am

    This is not a Zelus renardii.

    See pix of Z. renardii:http://bugguide.net/node/view/323253

    It is not a species of Zelus. If you encounter this guy again, could you please collect specimens, both males and females. I would be very interested in getting some specimens to do an accurate identification. Might be a newly introduced assassin bug to Hawaii. Thanks a lot!

    GY

    • corycampora permalink
      April 28, 2011 8:55 am

      Thanks for the heads-up on that.

      After doing an image search for Zelus renardii on Google, it does appear that my assassin looks a little different from the other images of Z. renardii on the internet. I’ll look into it.

      Thanks again, Cory.

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