News Article

News Article

This Predatory Bug Makes a Suit of Armor Out of Its Victims' Corpses

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At this point we probably don't have to try to convince you that bugs are nature's most depraved, sadistic killers (if you still need convincing, read our story about mad scientist wasps that turn cockroaches into zombie slaves), but if you still need more proof, here's a tiny critter who seems like a combination of ninja and serial killer: the Assassin Bug.
 
Assassin_Bug1
Photo © Nicky Bay
 
Captured here by macro photographer Nicky Bay, this image of the assassin bug (of the family Reduviidae) shows how it uses the discarded body parts of ants as a “meat suit” that not only protects it from attackers, but creates a grisly shield that makes it easier for the assassin to infiltrate the ants' nests.
 
Here's what it looks like underneath that nightmare suit of body parts... kinda cute, right?
 
Assassin_Bug2
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
 
Make no mistake, this critter's behaviour is anything but adorable: taking a cue from Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs – who dons a dead prison guard's skin in order to slip past security – this bug wraps itself in the flesh of its dead prey, often fooling sentry ants, who identify fellow colony members by the scent of certain pheromones. Once inside, it can get to killing its favorite prey by injecting them with flesh-dissolving saliva.
 
Bay's online galleries include many more gruesome examples of the insect world's stone-cold killers, including a horrific collection of mini-predators chowing down on live victims, showcased on Wired.com.
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