Sunday, June 5, 2016

A young Kissing Bug doesn't need much

In late November 2015, I found a nymph of Triatoma rubida marching across the bedroom carpet between two dog beds. My reaction was 'Oh, no, already'? and I caught it in a jar. It looked like it had just had a good meal.  Rather young, not much indication of wings yet. 4th instar?

Planning to photograph it later, I kept it. By the end of February 2016 I marveled that it was alive and seemed to have progressed to the next instar, now showing stubby wing buds. 5th instar.

By the end of May, still the same. In early June, I found the first adults at my black light outside. When I checked on the captive, it also had gone through its last molt exactly on time. This time a complete exuvium was sitting next to him. You can clearly see the dorsal exit-slit, the  inverted tubes of the tracheae and the proboscis.
Adult Kissing Bug and exuvium of the last-instar nymph
The emerged adult is not particularly big, but normal if it is a male. So these bugs probably don't get very many blood meals in nature either, at least not if the victim is a big, well fed, well hydrated dog. I must admit that these Kissing Bugs are not my favorites and get flushed down the toilet at times. But this brave tough guy gets to fend for himself outside now. At a record 109 degree Fahrenheit, he might have preferred the other choice.


  1. A nice account and love the photos -- but not so much the subject. I don't see many kissing bugs out here in the Sulphur Springs Valley, but during the two summers I lived in Bisbee they were common, something to watch out for. I know a Bisbee couple who sleep under netting due to past bad experiences with the species.

    1. Texas to Arizona about 50% of kissing bugs are capable of transmitting T cruzi, which causes Chagas. It is not that uncommon in dogs in parts of Texas especially ones kept in kennels outside.

  2. It's flat out insane and incredibly wrong to save a predator bug that often carries a fatal disease (Chagas disease parasite transmitted by kissing bug's fecal deposits entry through bite wounds while it feeds). The CDC acknowledges over 300,000 people in the USA show evidence of this parasite, which is hard to treat for and even hard to detect after a short time, that is -- until it flares up and kills someone, as it killed Charles Darwin. Humans are not the top of the food chain.