Bug News

Bug News

Observations, factoids, funny clips, and lots of bugs and other nature related images.

4-Minute Read

Well, a Jagged Ambush Bug anyway lol. Don’t worry though. These are beneficial bugs and are lying in wait for prey much smaller than you!

Jagged Ambush Bugs (taxonomic genus Phymata) are part of the Assassin Bug family (Reduviidae). They get the “ambush” part of their name because they typically hide on plants and then quickly spring out (ambush) and grab their unsuspecting prey. Their raptorial fore legs (aka front legs that look like mantis arms or sharp grabby arms) are perfect for this type of behavior. You probably already guessed the second part, but the “jagged” part of their name comes from how rough and craggy their backs look. The jagged appearance also complements their camouflaging coloration, making them difficult to distinguish when hiding in their preferred plants.

Jagged Ambush Bug, Phymata sp. Note the raptorial legs fore legs...

I’ve been finding these cute little guys hiding in almost all my flowering plants (although if I were a bug, I probably wouldn’t see them until too late!). Chances are if you’re located in North America, you probably have some hiding in your flowers as well :) So far I’ve found them on my Black-eyed Susans, Shasta Daisies, Oregano flowers, and Parsley flowers, but they hide on a wide variety of plants. They are pretty small (no more than about 12mm), and usually well hidden, so you have to look closely. There are about 21 different species found in North America - all of which I think are pretty adorable.

Jagged Ambush Bug, Phymata sp. on parsley flowers

Despite being excellent predators, Ambush Bugs, like other Assassin Bugs, don’t actually have mandibles (aka teeth) to chew their prey with. Instead, they have beak like mouthparts that they use like a sharp straw. When they catch a prey organism, they give it a good jab and then suck out the juices… While it sounds kinda gross, if you don’t have teeth you gotta find some way to eat!

Jagged Ambush Bug, Phymata sp. on parsley flowers
Jagged Ambush Bug, Phymata sp. on Black-eyed Susan

What to read more about Ambush bugs? Check out these resources:

There are also some really excellent photos of Ambush Bugs here:


Questions? Comments?

We’re still trying to figure out how to add comment boxes to the blog, so in the meantime, send me an email!
We’re also on Facebook now so you can leave a comment or start a discussion there too if you want.


Join the email list

Want Bug News stories & announcements sent to your inbox? Join the Bug News email list


Support the blog!

Like my blog? Want to help keep the new content coming and the pages ad free? Consider becoming one of my Patreon Patrons! Any amount, big or small, helps me spend more time creating and less time trying to keep the lights on. Patreon Patrons can also get exclusive access to monthly newsletters, story sneak peeks, story requests, and more! Please consider supporting the blog and check out my Patreon Patron support page.

Ok, you say, but what is this Patreon thing you are talking about? Patreon is a service that helps connect content creators with folks who want to help support creative endeavors. Patreon is setup to be able to safely handle the financial side of transactions so both the patron and the creator can be confident their information is secure. You can read more about what Patreon is HERE.

Thank you!!


Not interested in a Patreon monthly subscription? Prefer to make a one-time contribution? We have that option too! Help support the blog with a one-time donation through PayPal instead! Thank you!!




The links in this article and below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase. This helps pay for my blog and keeps it clean and ad free. I am very selective about what I recommend. The Amazon.com books below are all ones on my shelf that I regularly reference…

Recent Posts

Blog Topics

About

Written by an entomologist for the enjoyment of all... The goal is to post 1 or 2 new stories every week, so stay tuned!