Insect guide > Bugs > Ambush Bugs

Ambush Bugs

(Family Phymatidae.)
The strong and ferocious predatory bugs of this group number only forty-three described species, of which but five live in
the United States, yet it is structurally and economically an important family. The head is shaped like that of the Aradidae, the front legs are enlarged and fitted for grasping, frequently lacking the tarsi, and its beak and general appearance
Reduviida. These insects are tough and horny, and in the tropics are apt to be armed with spines. Phymata wolffi Stal., our commonest species, is yellowish-green in color, with a brown or blackish band across its abdomen. It frequents yellowish flowers like the ox-eye daisy, with which its color harmonizes, disguising its presence from the insects which visit such flowers, and upon which it preys. From this fact Comstock has called these insects "the ambush bugs", and this insect affords our best exponent of what Professor Poulton calls "specific aggressive resemblance" - that is, the resemblance of a predatory species to some special object to facilitate the capture of its prey.

The full life history of none of the Phymatids is known, and P. wolffii should be followed through its life round by some careful observer.