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Assassin Bug.jpg

The Reduviidae are a large cosmopolitan family of the order Hemiptera (Say it: HEMM-ee-TAIR-uh) (true bugs). They can be perceived as slightly unusual, but they are very common among the Hemiptera because almost all are terrestrial ambush predators (most other predatory Hemiptera are aquatic). The main examples of nonpredatory Reduviidae (Say it: red-oo-VEE-dee) are some blood-sucking ectoparasites in the subfamily Triatominae (Say it: tree-uh-toe-MINN-ee). Though spectacular exceptions are known, most members of the family are fairly easily recognizable; they have a relatively narrow neck, sturdy build, and formidable curved proboscis (sometimes called a rostrum). Large specimens should be handled with caution, if at all, because they sometimes defend themselves with a very painful stab from the proboscis.