Ambush Bugs

What a perfect name

Ambush bugs (Family Phymatidae) with light green and brown camouflage wings and carapace wait patiently to ambush any insect that comes close enough.  You won’t notice it if you don’t really look for it; just blends that well with the surroundings like a soldier in camo’.  The bug’s front legs are similar to those of a Mantis, thick, muscular with claws at the end.  It’s not big at all, half an inch at most.  But size doesn’t matter.  An Ambush bug can nail an insect that’s a couple of sizes bigger than itself.

Ambush bug bags lunch.

I caught one Ambush bug in the act yesterday.  He had a large Skipper clamped in his claws.  I didn’t see it at first.  I was trying to take a photograph of the Skipper but when I focused more closely, I realized that the Skipper was a victim of the Ambush bug.  I didn’t want to disturb the meal so I just left it there after a few shots.  I went in search of an Ambush bug that I could photograph clearly.  Lucky me, I found one on a Black-eyed Susan.  It looked like leaf litter that had dropped on one flower petal.  Done.

Waiting for a target.

I’m glad that they are in our garden since they are beneficial insects.  They will help rid us of undesirables, at least until they themselves succumb to the local bird patrol.  I just hope they stick to the bad insects and leave the butterflies alone.

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