The Jagged Ambush Bug – Secret Killer

The Jagged Ambush Bug – Secret Killer

Hey you guys doing? Chris Egnoto here, and you are watching Nature
Now! So, I know it’s the winter months, but I still
have some warmer weather topics to share with you guys. So without farther ado, here’s a cool little
creature I am sure will impress you. Let’s get started. Picture this: You are taking a slow and quiet
stroll through your local park. It’s a warm September afternoon accompanied
by a soft breeze, carrying with it the songs of some bird who’s name you do not know,
but his song is lovely. You happen upon a nice goldenrod meadow. This meadow is filled with all sorts of vibrant
colors. The greens of summer grasses, the fuchsia
of knapweed and numerous arching stems filled with pink and magenta from various flowers
ready to make their seeds. The meadow is dominated by the warm rich yellow
of the goldenrods. You see a honeybee going about it’s duties
and peak a little closer to appreciate all her hard work. Just as you get ready to snap a photo with
your phone POOF! something has happened. The bee is now on its side and moving rather….un
bee like. The flower has grabbed onto it. No This is no flower. It is some strange alien composed of greens
and yellows and maybe even a little pink. You are witnessing non other than the stealthy
and formidable ambush bug. The silent assassin of the summer meadow. These insects are members of a group of insects
known as Assassin bugs (family Reduviidae),and are among the few who can officially claim
the name “bug”. Such a lovely fright these creatures are! Not very large, having short, stout bodies
which makes them unique among the assassin bug group. To humans they can often be a beneficial insect
at times, but a nuisance at other times. While they feed on insects such as hoppers,
thrips and other insects that can harm garden plants and vegetables, they sometimes feed
on beneficial insects such as bees and even other assassin bugs. Although to humans, ambush bugs are not much
of a threat and are in fact, a welcome visiter to our gardens. Both the juveniles sporting their little wing
buds and THE adults are insect predators. I have never been bitten or pinched by one,
and I don’t fear that I ever will be. And they’re not actually that big reaching
about half an inch at most. Lets talk about their “tools of the trade”. Obviously, you may gather that their adornment
is their first weapon, and rightly so. They wear such impressive camouflage that
I have had trouble getting other people to see them while pointing directly at them. Like many assassin bugs they blend in so well
with the environment they inhabit that there is no need to improve this design. Along with their color, they have little projections
on their body, perhaps resembling the ends of maybe flower petals or leaf buds. There is even a species in the family that
wears the carcasses of its defeated prey on its back like some shroud or trophy of the
macabre, some day, I hope to have footage of THAT species. Once in a while, a little head bobbing might
catch your eye, but thats it. They will sit so still that a prey item might
even walk on their face or back and even then, the ambush bug will sit patiently still. Not until something tasty comes and entices
it, and everything lines up just right, do you see movement. This can occur in two ways. It might slowly approach its victim to within
striking distance, or more often than not, it might wait until its food source is directly
in front of its face. Then….with a flash! it snatches it up. With the speed of a kung fu guru, it lunges
out with its modified front legs and grasps its prey. The insect never saw it coming. These forelegs are wonderful hunting tools. The fore tibia (front half of the legs) are
thin, curved hooks, complete with tiny teeth or spines for gripping. The fore femora (the half of the leg closer
to the insects body) is swollen with muscles used to snatch and restrain their prey mercilessly. These legs resemble the forelegs of a more
popular insect known as the praying mantis or even the mantidfly and clearly show that
through necessity, evolution can often take on similar solutions to best suit the situation. That’s not all though. Now comes the true assassins weapon – a deadly
elixir. Ambush bugs (and most assassin bugs) harbor
a powerful venom for subduing their prey. After it has caught its food it will extend
its pointy “beak”, which when at rest, will be tucked into a groove under its face
and between the forelegs. It will pierce its victim with this beak and
inject a paralyzing concoction that often begins the digestive process before the bug
even starts to feed. The beak is, in essence, a straw. This “straw” will be used to suck the
insides out of the insect it has just hunted. When all is done, it just discards the hollow
husk a lot like a kid might do with an empty sandwich wrapper after lunch. The ambush bug, together with its combination
of stealth and cunning, powerfully adapted hooked front legs, and its immobilizing saliva
is an amazing addition to the hunters out there in the invertebrate world. I am so glad that ambush bugs are not something
us humans will ever have to look over our shoulders for. So, I really hope you guys like this video
and in the future I will probably have a more in depth video with more detail and stuff
but we will have to wait for that one. I hope you guys enjoyed this video and next
time you are in a meadow, keep your eyes open and maybe you will see an ambush bug for yourselves. Thanks a lot for watching, once again I am
Chris Egnoto; singing out. Thanks a lot for watching and remember if
you like this video, be sure to check out this video over here that YouTube has selected
specifically for YOU based on your watch time. And don’t forget to hit that SUBSCRIBE button
but you gotta click the bell icon, because if you don’t, YouTube will never let you know
when a new video of mine comes out. Remember passion inspires spirit!

21 thoughts on “The Jagged Ambush Bug – Secret Killer”

  1. NO way!!! That is so cool!!!! Never heard of those, what an awesome bug!!! Are they here in the US? I have a feeling your in a different country lol …you show the coolest looking bugs I have never seen.


  3. Yet another WILD video Chris! It's amazing how there's an entire world of insects around us that we don't even notice unless we stop to take a closer look! Thanks for sharing another one of Mother Nature's interesting little creatures with us! 🙂

  4. Hey have you done a video on the brown recluse spider? I was bit a couple years ago and it was really bad… like really bad. I was wondering if I could learn more from a video like yours. Thanks

  5. Excellent footage and information. Thanks. BTW, do you use a UV light to attract moths during the summer? THere's a paucity of good videos on the activity. Cheers for Indiana.

  6. Great video, i just started up my own wildlife channel, I've already got two videos up, you should check it out, by the way, do you have any tips on filming and presenting with wildlife? Thanks 🙂

  7. Man I like your videos, they are very informative and to the point without all the hoopla, thank you Chris I look forward to your next videos keep up the great work.

  8. Thank you for highlighting my comment good sir- I would be lucky to have such a spiritually balanced being such as you as a friend- looking forward to your vids i am a new subscriber- I have seen them all from monster bug wars to bug safari etc and i think your style is the best and totally real-
    Can you please do anvideo on the spider that creates a "scarecrow" double of itself in middle of web to trick predators of the aviary kind into thinking the double is a spiderظ- they nake these doubles of fecal and dirt matter- incidentally it HAS EIGHT LEGS HMJUST LIKE THW REAL SPiDer! Are we talking about Self awareness here??!! this is more than the computer program of an instinctual automaton, which is what spiders have ignorantly been referred to- also thenactions of AUDAX which as you know as the jumper- (referred to as the einstein of arachnids)
    I mean they play/hide on their prey behind rocks before hunting ends and killing it- exhibiting almost
    Mamalian, even felis 🐈 like behaviour.
    There is anvid on tube called " the intelligence of spiders"
    The story of a tarantula, who has learned to lift the lid of his tank/enclosure and get out ( then owner watches bemused)
    I am from brooklyn nyc
    [email protected] drop me a line and any info or statistics on all spiders if you aren't in the field or on an important project

  9. Very cool. I've only seen (on video) the assassin bug that walks around with the bodies of its prey on its back. Never seen these before. They blend right in with the plants and flowers. Hope I see one of these in person. Thx Chris!

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