I found a a few of these guys on my composter, so they could have easily been eating bugs or decaying organics (or both):

Image 1 Image 2

To me it looks like a stink bug with oversized legs, not like the ones I'm used to seeing. His body measures just under 3cm, and I haven't pulled on his legs to get a measurement (I haven't pulled on it at all). The legs seem to be at least 1.5 times the body length as do the antenna. The body is grayish brown and the antenna and parts of the leg seem reddish brown.

I'm a microbiologist, so things big enough to see in a jar are not really my specialty. That said, here's info that I've been trying to use ID it:

Wingless Normal compound forelimbs (don't seem to have any kind of prey modification)

Segments filiform antenna (I think)

2 Tarsomeres (I think)

In the middle of South East US

Have had (unusually) heavy rains

Underside of the limbs and antenna seem red, but to seems gray

I've never seen it before! (and I usually notice such things).

Update: Despite my 4 year old putting other bugs and some leaves in with it, the bug died. I took the opportunity to get some much better photos, and low and behold when I started manipulating it I was able to pull out a substantial rostrum that I missed! These guys are good at hiding those. So going back to assassin bugs, can anyone id which assassin bug it is?

More photos: [I would add more but I think this should be plenty] enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

I at least think it's quite a pretty specimen (to betray my mammalian aversion to bugs).

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Also if anyone could rule this out as a potential threat to vertebrates, ie Triatominae, that would also be appreciated (even if not a complete answer). $\endgroup$
    – Atl LED
    Jul 9, 2013 at 2:10
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the new pictures; see ID edit in my answer below $\endgroup$ Jul 10, 2013 at 2:41

3 Answers 3


species ID

I feel reasonably confident this is a late-instar Acanthocephala declivis nymph (that is, almost-but-not-quite-adult).

Compare your pictures with those on bugguide of a similarly-aged individual, or the bugguide ID page. Also see the key here; which gives three characters for declivis

Humeral angles of pronotum broadly expanded, extending laterally well beyond maximum lateral abdominal margin. Distal dilation of hind tibia broad until apex, then curving in at right angles to tibial shaft. Anterior pronotal lobe with 2 small shining blunt tubercles along midline

If you look at your pictures, you'll see that you're three for three here: the broad 'shoulders' (pronotum), the right-angle in the leg flange (dilated tibia) just above the the 'ankle', and the two rounded bumps on the pronotum (visible in photos 1 and 3).

original answer / working towards the ID

You're right on track, it definitely looks like a true bug (Hemiptera/Heteroptera). Possibly immature if it looks wingless. Maybe some kind of Assassin Bug (Reduviidae)? They don't all have burly forelimbs. You might also want to consider Coreidae, for instance the genus Leptoglossus (pdf on Leptoglossus in Georgia).

You could try this key to Florida bug families, it looks pretty user-friendly.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the link, I looked at that and didn't see it. I'm also not in Florida, but it's more fuel for the search. I agree it looks kind of like the assassin bug, but it seems to missing some of their features. I'd vote you up but I don't have the rep here. I'd accept any definite answered on the species/genus with a reference to a good description on the bug. Happy for someone with editing power to bring in the images if possible. $\endgroup$
    – Atl LED
    Jul 9, 2013 at 1:52
  • $\begingroup$ Added in images for you (waiting on peer review) $\endgroup$ Jul 9, 2013 at 2:27
  • $\begingroup$ Lacking a rostrum: interesting. Do you have a picture? I thought most bugs had piercing mouthparts of some kind. Often they're tucked away in a special groove underneath. $\endgroup$ Jul 9, 2013 at 2:28
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! Regarding the bug-beak, I'm not saying it's necessarily a vital diagnostic character, but if you're interested it should be there see e.g. bugguide.net/node/view/63015 $\endgroup$ Jul 9, 2013 at 3:46
  • $\begingroup$ let us continue this discussion in chat $\endgroup$ Jul 9, 2013 at 4:04

Maybe this is a late answer, but the difference between an assasing bug (Reduviidae) and a squash bug (or leaf-footed bug, Coreidae) is the structure of the beak. Reduviidae, being predaceous, have relative short, bended beaks, made of three segments and do not go beyond the first pair of legs. Coreidae, herbivores, have a long beak made of four segments. This can be see it clearly in the third and fifth picture, it is a Coreidae.


It looks very much like a squash bug, which look close too assassin bugs but don't eat insects, probably explaining what it was doing in your mulch. I have the same thing.


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