Bloodsucking Conenose Assassin Bug
(aka Kissing Bug)
Triatoma sanguisugar
Order: Hemiptera
Family: Reduviidae

These species appear similar and both occur in and around dwellings. Adults are 6/8 inch long, flattened insects with elongated, cone-shaped heads bearing a pair of five to six-segmented, elbowed antennae and a prominent "beak" (proboscis). The beak of Triatoma is more tapered, slender and straighter than that of Reduvius. Their bodies are dark brown to black, but the abdomen of the bloodsucking conenose is widened, with flattened sides sticking out beyond the margins of the wings and marked with six equally-spaced reddish-orange spots. Bites of kissing bugs are occasionally misdiagnosed as "spider bites."

The eggs are barrel-shaped, some with ornate fringed caps, are deposited singly or in small clusters in areas frequented by females. Tiny wingless nymphal stages hatch in 8 to 30 days, depending on species and temperature. Other species overwinter in the egg or adult stages. Generally, one generation is produced annually, although the bloodsucking conenose requires three years for development.

Although the bite can be painful, these bugs are considered beneficial because they prey on insect pests; this and many reduviid species are medically important because they can "bite" with their sucking mouthparts. Species in the subfamily, Triatoma (also called conenoses or "kissing bugs" because of their habit of biting around the mouth), feed only on the blood of vertebrates.

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