Thursday, July 4, 2013

Assassin Bugs of Arizona

As a preparation for the BugGuide gathering 2013 in Arizona, I pulled BugGuide's data for Assassin Bugs in Arizona. I found that my own photos are the basis for many of the existing species pages. I also found that I had taken white background photos of all but one of the AZ species that are represented on BugGuide. The one missing was  Pseudozelurus arizonicus photographed by D.R. Swanny from a museum (UMMC) specimen. D.R. Swanny also did most of the identifications and I gave him many of my specimens, so I'm sure that he doesn't mind that I included his photo in the tableaux below.

1 Stenolemoides arizonensis; 2 Emesaya sp.; 3 Zelus tetracanthus ; 4 Zelus renardii; 5  Castolus ferox; 6  Apiomerus cazieri; 7 Apiomerus flaviventris; 8 Apiomerus sissipes; 9 Apiomerus longispinis, 10 Fitchia aptera; 11 Heza similis; 12 Pselliopus marmorosus ; 13 Pselliopus zebra; 14 Rasahus thoracicus; 15 Melanolestes picipes; 16 Rhynocoris ventralis; 17 Homalocoris erythrogaster; 18 Sinea rileyi; 19 Sinea diadema

1 Macrocephalus dorannae; 2 Lophoscutus sp.; 3 Phymata sp.; 4 Pseudozelurus arizonicus; 5 Narvesus carolinensis; 6 Oncocephalus geniculatus; 7 Reduvius sonoraensis; 8 Rhiginia cinctiventris; 9 Triatoma protracta; 10 Triatoma recurva; 11 Triatoma indictiva, 12 Triatoma rubida, 12a Triatoma rubida nymph

There is a lot of work in these tableaux. Since I composed similar collages of other Arizona insect families, I have learned several things: to always store my work as png files so I can go back and move the elements around. To keep the species names in the legend instead as part of the image file - it's easier to correct mistakes and to follow changes in taxonomy that are inevitable. Last, but not least, to post only a small watermarked version on the internet. My ladybug plate showed all intentions to go viral after it was posted on pintrest, turned up in an African language blog, and on several gardening web sites, but by then it had lost all connections to my name and copyright.

Prints of these and other insect plates are available. Please contact me at


  1. Must have taken so many hours Margarethe. So impressive. Some of them are utterly beautiful and look like Aztec or African tribal designs.

  2. Fantastic job! I can't even begin to comprehend the hours of field work and identification all this would require. I'm also surprised at the number and variety of these similar bugs in the one state - they must all have niche-adaptations that stop them from competing with each other too much?

  3. your work is really wonderful, I love these insects. I want to invite you to see my blog on Chagas' disease:
    Sorry it is in Spanish!!! I hope you can enjoy it.
    Jose Ayala

  4. My fiancé has being bitten by no. 9 Apiomerus longispinis.(look alike) And he felt dizziness,sweating forehead & painful. Frm malaysia 20/01/2016

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I have seen similar symptoms in a friend who was bitten by an Apiomerus in Costa Rica. But as you say: in Malaysia you have look-a-likes but not the same species as in the US, probably not even the same genera. I would love to study the insect fauna of Malaysia, It must be amazing!