Entomology (Study of Bugs)/unknown insect/bite



Hello,  I had an insect bite/sting me at work earlier on my thumb,  it hurt really bad,  almost felt like a cigarette put out on my thumb.  I was trying to find out information on the insect if possible and if there might be any adverse effects from its bite.  I  have included pictures of the insect.  If you could provide any information it would be appreciated.

This is an assassin bug (Hemiptera/Heteroptera: Reduviidae) in the genus Zelus.  Like most assassin bugs, they have a very painful 'bite' (actually more of a stab) as their saliva contains proteolytic enzymes that break down the tissues of their prey, which they then suck up through their beak. In humans, this results in the death of a small area of cells at the site of the bite, accompanied by an intense burning sensation, often followed by a small, itchy lump that may persist for several days. See http://tinyurl.com/nncsxez for more detailed information on these insects.
Hope this helps,

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad


Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.


21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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