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True Bugs (Hemiptera)

There are between 50 and 80 thousand species of true bugs, including cicadas, hoppers, aphids. They are distributed worldwide and eat both plants and other insects. True bugs all have stylet mouthparts that resemble a juice-box straw – a long straw with a pointy end. They use this point to pierce plant tissues or the exoskeleton of their prey. They generally live on land, but some are adapted to life in freshwater.

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White-spot Assassin Bugs

Platymeris biguttatus

White-spot assassin bugs are native to humid tropical environments in Africa. They can’t fly, but they can spray a defensive chemical that causes temporary blindness in humans. Their bite is much more painful than a bee sting and can cause severe allergic reactions. Assassin bugs are aggressive predators. When they catch their prey, they inject it with an enzyme that paralyzes the prey and liquefies its insides. Assassin bugs can then suck the liquids up through the stylet. This ambush style of predation gives the assassin bugs their name!

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