Saturday, 24 May 2014

Meet the Insects - Assassin Bug

Stenolemus bituberus dhobern Flickr. from

It's unlikely many of my readers will meet this one - unless my readership is much more international than I realise - as it's an Australian species. You can see some British species of assassin bugs here 

But it's this one that caught my attention after a piece of research was posted on the BBC website detailing the way it lured it's play. One of the researchers Dr Anne Wignall explains. 

"However, reliance on vibratory cues and predictable responses leaves web-building spiders vulnerable to predators that aggressively mimic prey stimuli to gain control over their behaviour," they wrote.
"If you imagine an insect such as a fly when first hits the web, it'll generate a huge intial vibration, and then it will begin struggling violently, buzzing its wings," explained Dr Wignall.
"During these first vibrations, the risk of the prey escaping from the web is largest, and so spiders will tend to move in quickly on prey producing these sorts of vibrations in the web.
"But, as time goes on, an insect may get more tired, and the vibrations it produces will be much smaller. The spider can take more time approaching these insects as it's less likely to escape from the web," she told BBC News.
"These are the sorts of vibrations assassin bugs are mimicking, and it makes sense as a spider is very dangerous prey for a bug. If the spider approaches too fast, the risk to the assassin bug is much higher." 

I can't add much to that - although if you're not too squeamish (and I've noticed that not many people's squeamishness extends to creatures without warm blood, fur and feathers), you can watch Stenolemus bituberus in action here

No comments:

Post a Comment