Zelus luridus

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Zelus luridus
Pale Green Assassin Bug (14454596254).jpg
Assassin bug nymph.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Family: Reduviidae
Subfamily: Harpactorinae
Tribe: Harpactorini
Genus: Zelus
Species: Z. luridus
Binomial name
Zelus luridus
Stål, 1862

Zelus luridus, also known as the Pale Green Assassin Bug, is a species of assassin bug native to North America. It is the most common Zelus species in the eastern United States.[1] The size ranges from twelve and a half to eighteen millimeters long.[2] On average, adult females are sixteen millimeters long, while males are fourteen millimeters long. Though the base color is pale green, markings on the back can range from dark brown or red to bright yellow. Nymphs are generally more solid green, wingless, and with narrower bodies than adults.[3] The most reliable feature to distinguish this species from others is the pair of spines on the rear corners of the pronotum. These spines are long on the lighter colored individuals and shorter on ones that are darker. It can also be distinguished by dark bands on the distal ends of the femurs, but these can often be too light to be easily seen.[1] The egg masses, which are laid from late June to August, are conical in shape with a flat top. They are laid on leaves in groups of twenty to fifty and held together with a sticky, brownish material.[3] Their bite is extremely painful.

Like many other assassin bugs, Zelus luridus preys on other insects. It will often wait on leaves to ambush passing insects, but occasionally it also actively hunts.[3] For this, it uses sticky traps, a common predation strategy to species within the genus Zelus. The sticky material is produced by a gland on the leg. This gland develops in the second instar. During the first instar, the nymphs use secretions deposited over the egg batch by the female as the source of their sticky material.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Species Zelus luridus". BugGuide. Retrieved 2016-01-11. 
  2. ^ Genus Zelus Fabricius in the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) Hart E.R. 1986. Ann. Ent. Soc. Am. 79: 535-548.
  3. ^ a b c "Zelus luridus – A Common Assassin Bug" (PDF). Colorado State University. Retrieved 2016-01-11. 
  4. ^ Weirauch, C. "Biological control in pest management system of plants".