Feasting Assassin Bug
Assassin Bug (Orange) Finishing Lunch (Black) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Sigma 30mm f/1.4 + 12mm extension tube — 1/80 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Assassin Bug (Orange) Finishing Lunch (Black)

Walking back from photographing the hyper-fluffy cherry blossoms earlier this week, I noticed a striking red/orange bug on a tree. I hate bugs — they give me the creeps — but I had my extension tubes, so I thought to try some pseudo-macro photography by using one with my Sigma 30mm.

The quality of the shot isn't that great, but it's my best non-blossom macro shot ever (but only on a technicality, because it's my only non-blossom macro shot). A good photographer would be able to make a stunning photograph (see some in this macro shots of the week thread at Digital Photography Review), but I was doing this handheld, bridging one hand between the camera and the tree, inches from a tree full of bugs (the photo below was taken just inches from the one above), all the while hoping that they'd not all jump onto me and bore under my skin in pre-planned human-hating unison.

I did a bit of poking around on the web and it seems that the red insect is some species or other of an assassin bug (with many such species also called “wheel bugs”). They apparently are a gardener's friend because they prey on harmful bugs by sucking out their guts. If you look at the large version of the one above, you can see that the black bug (looks like it might have been a spider) is not much more than what used to be the lower chassis, so to speak.

It also seems that assassin bugs, due to their piercing/sucking mouth parts, can give a human a nasty bite, so it turns out that my gut wrenching white-knuckled fear was not misplaced.

Nikon D200 + Sigma 30mm f/1.4 + 12mm extension tube — 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Bunches of Some Kinda' Bug

Right next to the feasting assassin bug were hordes of black bugs with red markings. After having looked at the many varieties of assassin bugs during my research, I suspect that these are also assassin bugs of some kind or another. Yuck. I don't like bugs.

The other day at a park with Anthony, a big ladybug (the size of a bean, not one the size of a pinhead like I grew up with) landed on my arm. It's a ladybug, but still a bug, so the impulse to crawl at least slightly out of my own skin was pungent. However, the parent in me won, and not wishing to instill into Anthony any such squeamishness, instead of saying “Arrrrrrgh!” I said “Hey, Anthony, look, a cute ladybug. Come and see...”

It can be hard being a parent sometimes.

All 2 comments so far, oldest first...

Hmmmm…I’m just going to have to stop checking your blog first thing every day during breakfast.

— comment by Grandma Friedl on April 26th, 2007 at 10:50pm JST (17 years ago) comment permalink

Are you sure that the orange bug is eating the black one?? On the photo, it rather looks like it just hatched from it and is now having a rest next to the empty skin.
If you want to see a real feast, have a look here (make sure you have finished eating before!):

— comment by Julia on April 27th, 2007 at 11:41am JST (17 years ago) comment permalink
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