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The Masked Hunter or Assassin Bug

Updated on September 11, 2015

The Masked Hunter

The Masked Hunter (Reduvius personatus) is a large bug that lives on Tenerife. It is also known as an Assassin Bug or "Chinche asesina" in Spanish.

It is usually found in farmland, rocky areas and where there are trees. The Masked Hunter is also found in Gran Canaria and El Hierro in the Canary Islands and in Mediterranean countries. The insect is found in America and other parts of the world that it has colonised.

Assassin Bug photo

Assassin Bug (Reduvius personatus)
Assassin Bug (Reduvius personatus)

Camouflaged nymph

The Masked Hunter gets it name because its nymph camouflages itself with dust, sand and other small particles that it sticks all over its back, and thus it is "masked." It is a "hunter" because both nymphs and adults feed on other insects.

The name Assassin Bug was given because the bug kills its prey. It will feed on cockroaches, spiders, other bugs and insects it can track down and kill with its lethal bite.

Assassin Bugs inject a poisonous saliva into their victims and can kill insects bigger than themselves.

The Masked Hunter and others in the Assassin Bug family (Reduviidae) can bite humans but this is only done in defence. However, the bite can be as bad as a bee sting and swell up in the affected area. Because of this it is recommended that these bugs are handled with care.

Because the Masked Hunter helps keep other pests such as cockroaches down it is really a beneficial insect to have around. In some parts of the world they are actually encouraged because of this.

Wikipedia states: "Some species have been known to feed on cockroaches or bedbugs (in the case of the masked hunter) and are regarded in many locations as beneficial. Some people breed them as pets and for insect control."

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    • Tenerife Islander profile image
      Author

      Steve Andrews 7 years ago from Tenerife

      Well, they don't scare me and I threw the one in the picture out yesterday. It was on the curtains.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 7 years ago

      Beneficial or not, it still looks scary!