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I noticed this small insect with long striped antennae and legs hanging out on my parsley. I'd be curious to find out what it is.

When I got close to take a picture of it, it suddenly leapt, like a grasshopper, landing a good 12 inches away on another plant. Its body is about 1cm long. I live in Southern California if it makes a difference.

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    $\begingroup$ Excellent first post, great pictures. That being said, can you give us a rough idea of size (parsley comes in many varieties). Please enjoy our tour and refer to the help center for guidance as to our ways. $\endgroup$ Mar 25, 2022 at 0:14
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    $\begingroup$ @ARogueAnt. he said the body was about 1 cm long. $\endgroup$
    – mgkrebbs
    Mar 25, 2022 at 0:31
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    $\begingroup$ Ah yes, I was so taken by the images I must have missed that @mgkrebbs $\endgroup$ Mar 25, 2022 at 0:35
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    $\begingroup$ Lovely, certainly looks like a hopper of some sort. I would guess an instar of something $\endgroup$
    – bob1
    Mar 25, 2022 at 3:55

2 Answers 2

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Based on body shape and size, this appears to be a nymph of an assassin bug (family: Reduviidae).

I originally was thinking some species of Zelus (see bottom of post), but the orange body and bold leg-striping makes me think this is instead an early instar nymph of some species of Pselliopus.

enter image description here

Credit: B. Newton (2004); Source: Univ of Kentucky

Pselliopus barberi (the orange assassin bug) is one option.

I'm on my way out the door, so I'll come back to this next week to see if a more specific species stands out...


Note: I was originally thinking the genus Zelus was a good place to start -- though native to South/Central America, about a half dozen species are found in the US. Zelus renardii (the leaf hopper assassin bug) is one such species that has an orange-bodied, black/white-striped legged instar. It's native to semi-arid and Mediterranean climates (both found in CA), and it's not too atypical to find them on crop plants even in suburban areas. [Source]. However, the leg striping just isn't predominant enough

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  • $\begingroup$ I doubt that this is a reduviid larvae especially due to the missing rostrum which is prominent in reduviid bugs (compare my answer below and this answer). Best, bathyscapher $\endgroup$ Aug 21, 2023 at 14:08
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Due to the

  • chewing mouthparts,
  • the greatly developed femurs specifically adapted for jumping (what fits well with the OP's observation of jumping behaviour),
  • prominent compound eyes and
  • long, filamentous antennae

we can conclude that this specimen is an orthopteran insect larvae. Well known members of this insect order are grasshoppers, locusts and crickets.

Orthopterans undergo incomplete metamorphosis, progressing through egg, nymph and adult stages. Nymphs often resemble adults, but lack fully developped wings and reproductive structures. As this specimen lacks wings, we can conclude it must be a larvae.

Moreover, I assume this specimen belongs to the suborder Ensifera as its antenna are longer than its body (as opposed to their sister taxon Caelifera which have antenna shorter than their body).

It's often tricky to identify species from photos, so no guarantuee on that, but a genus with similar larvae would be Scudderia, the Bush Katydids, which is present all over the US with following similarities:

  • the "hat" with a dark lateral line
  • 1st antenna segment brighter than the others
  • 1st and 2nd antenna segments roundish
  • remaining antenna segments long, slender and dark with white ends
  • black eyes
  • white "cheeks"
  • typical slender, long legs with dark and bright coloration
  • the fine spines and hair all over the body

Orthoptera labeled + Scudderia furcata


Image source: Katja Schulz CC-BY-2.0

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    $\begingroup$ Good answer, but do you this part around the wrong way? I assume this specimen belongs to the suborder Caelifera as its antenna are shorter than the body (as opposed to their sister taxon Ensifera which have more-than-body-long antenna). The pictures from OP clearly show antennae longer than body - as do the ones in your answer. $\endgroup$
    – bob1
    Aug 21, 2023 at 20:47
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    $\begingroup$ You are totally right, bob1! Thank you for reading carefully and pointing this out, I will change it accordingly :) $\endgroup$ Aug 22, 2023 at 9:08

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