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Fly Bugs / Masked Hunters

Identify It >   Invertebrate Section >   Fly Bugs / Masked Hunters >

Scientific name:  Reduvius personatus

Size:  Up to 22mm long

Distribution:  Not common, but found in many parts of the UK especially in the southern half of England

Months seen:  April to October

Life span:  Up to one year

Habitat:  Rocks, trees, farm buldings and houses.  Frequently found close to human habitation

Food:  Small invertebrates including silverfish, flies, mites and bed bugs

Special features:  Fly Bugs, or Masked Hunters as they're sometimes called, are a type of assassin bug.  They are dark brown or black in colour.  As with all other bugs they are equipped with a piercing beak (known as a 'rostrum') which they use to suck juices from other invertebrates.  They are also capable of giving a nasty bite with it if handled.  Fly Bugs are fully winged and capable of flight, and are sometimes attracted to lighted windows at night.

The 'Masked Hunter' name comes from the appearance of the nymphs which are experts in the art of camouflage.  They cover their entire body in particles of dust and sand in order to ambush their prey.  The particles are held in place with sticky hairs called 'trichomes'.

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