Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Assassin Bug

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Question
I am writing an article about the assassin bug geared towards middle grade students for the Highlights magazine.  Were they first discovered by Charles Darwin in the 1800's?  Do they wear their prey's carcass?  If so, why do they do that?  Were they used as an instrument of torture in a 'bug pit' in the 1800's?

Thank you for your time.  Any interesting facts about the Assassin bug would be helpful.  I will be ending the article about the benefits that they provide for farmers and gardeners.

Answer
Hi Mike
The term assassin bug applies to a group of True Bugs in the Family Reduvidae and the Order Hemiptera. The original name "assassin Bug was given to a bug of the genus Benchuca. Darwin was the first to discover this insect in South America. In his diary he describes how the crew would actually allow the bug to bite and draw blood from their fingers. He also relates how he was bitten on the lips while asleep. The skin on the lips is soft and easy to penetrate. Thus the term "kissing bug"
 They feed on blood and I do not know about "wearing their prey's carcass" This makes no sense. They feed and leave. As far as used for torture the bite is basically painless.
 Benchuca is a vector for a parasite that cause Chagas Disease. It is a chronic disease and it is thought that Darwin contacted it.
 keep in mind with you writing that "assassin Bug " refers to all species In he Family Reduvidae In the Us there is one called the Wheel bug  ( Genus Arilus) The bite of the wheel bug is worse that a bee sting.

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Walter Hintz

Expertise

I can answer any questions about insects and spiders.

Experience

I have taught science for over 57 years. I am presently teaching biology at the college level. I have done extensive graduate work in entomology.

Publications
Momentum Magazine The Ohio Journal of Science

Education/Credentials
B.S. In Ed Kent State Unuv M.Sc The Ohio State Univ National Science Foundation Fellowships: Electron Microscopy Univ of California Entomology Kent State Univ

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