Ricolla cf. quadrispinosa - Percevejo-Assassino-Ricolla (Linnaeus, 1767)
Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Cimicomorpha: Reduvioidea: Reduviidae: Harpactorinae: Harpactorini
Date: 4th of March, 2017 at 06:35:46pm
Location: Brazil, Santa Catarina, Benedito Novo (Lat: 26.766567357374488, Long: -49.349564225852305, Precision (Accuracy in meters): 31)
Ricolla is a genus of assassin bugs in the order Hemiptera, suborder Heterocera, infraorder Cimicomorpha, superfamily Reduvioidea, family Reduviidae, subfamily Harpactorinae and tribe Harpactorini.
The head is slender with a rostrum adapted for predation underneath, which is used to pierce inside the prey and suck in its bodily fluids. Two medium-sized eyes, which are good for predating, are present after the postocular region. Two spikes are located on the lateral area close to the eyes; one for each. Almost all of the bug's body is red. The thorax, complex, with a red transverse sulcus of the pronotum, possesses four evident spikes, one on each of the humeral angles (2); and one on each dorsomedial area (2) proximal to the wings. Legs are made of a coxa, trochanter, femur, tibia, tarsus and pretarsus. The area from the tibia until the tarsus of the forelegs is seemingly darker in color and the pretarsus lighter, while the area from the femur until the coxa is red. Femura of the other legs are black with a red junction between it and the tibiae, proceeding to turn to black again until the claws, which might be clearer (or not). Antennae long, curved, slender and located on the anteocular region, possessing a scape, pedicel and flagellomeres, sequenced one after the other. Entire body is slender, with many protruding spikes from the connexivum which are probably for protection (and seemingly very efficient), and a signal of warning against predation. A red scutellum is present. The wings are made of a clear, veiny corium (4 veins in total with the first and second proximal to the medial area of the body with straying veins), and a red, membranous area with an unknown (to me) amount of cells. I could note no ocelli but these might be present posterior to the eyes. Maxillary plate and clypeus present. Length of approximately 16mm.
The rostrum is used to deliever a piercing, deadly blow to the prey; lethal saliva is injected and this liquefies the prey from inside. The bug then proceeds to suck the fluids off of the prey, leaving a husk behind.
The saliva's lethality comes from enzymes that digest the tissues of the unfortunate prey through extraoral digestion. They can kill Arthropods significantly larger than themselves, but they are unable to kill larger animals, as far as my knowledge goes. The piercing strike hurts, but the Ricolla are 100% harmless to human and pet health and do not transmit diseases.
They live in gardens in suburban habitats (possibly urban habitats as well), weedy areas and mostly low, attractive plants. They walk slowly towards their prey to not warn them, proceeding to pierce them with the rostrum unexpectedly. They will feed on most insects under their distribution range. The attraction for attractive plants comes from the instinct that tells them that pollinators might come. Their legs are covered in hairs that aid on grabbing prey to prevent them from fleeing.
Specimen found in a weedy forested area in Brazil, Santa Catarina, Benedito Novo.