Biology and life history of the araneophagic assassin bug Stenolemus bituberus including a morphometric analysis of the instars (Heteroptera, Reduviidae)

Anne E. Wignall*, Phillip W. Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Stenolemus bituberus is an araneophagic "assassin bug" (Heteroptera; Reduviidae; Emesinae) that typically is found living in spider webs. We documented the life history of S. bituberus in the field for 13 months, determining its developmental phenology and microhabitat characteristics as well as describing its mating and predatory behaviour. We also included a morphometric analysis of the instars. Our study revealed that S. bituberus is univoltine with five juvenile instars. Although S. bituberus is found in the webs of spiders from a wide range of genera, it is found most commonly in the webs of Achaearanea, Badumna, Pholcus, and Stiphidion. Multiple juveniles often were found on a single web, but adults tended to be more solitary. Stenolemus bituberus appears to have two distinct hunting strategies: "stalking", in which they slowly approach the spider, make contact and then strike; and "luring", in which they attract the spider within range by manipulating the silk with their legs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-76
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Natural History
Volume42
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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