Fly Bug


Reduvius personatus – At 16-18mm (5/8-3/4in) long this is a large and impressive black species of true bug belonging to the family Reduviidae – the Assassin Bugs. They are also called Masked Hunters. A synanthropic species, they live alongside humans benefiting from the association. They can be found in houses and outbuildings where they predate on other invertebrates like bed bugs, silverfish, lice, flies and spiders. They can give a painful bite if threatened and handled roughly.


Fly Bug Reduvius personatus

Fly Bug Reduvius personatus

An infrequent species, they are not seen very often in Britain, and are mainly recorded in central and southern England. The adults are seen May to September, and are attracted to light. The bodies of the young nymphs are covered in very sticky hairs which they use to cover themselves in dust and minute debris to help camouflage themselves after each molt. This helps them to sneak up on their prey and ambush them.

Double-click on images if you want to get up close and personal with this dark assassin …


Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 29th June 2019
Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire


19 thoughts on “Fly Bug

  1. I learned a new word — synanthropic. I misread it at first as misanthropic. There are a few critters with those characteristics around, too! You certainly captured this one’s details well.

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    1. It’s always good to learn something new, Linda. It is kind of like when I discover a new species, I want to know all about it. The internet is a good source for this, of course, but I do love my books, and I have a ton of books on the natural wold here for reference. Thank you 🙂

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  2. You had me going there with the almost Godzilla like measurement but then I saw the inch conversion. 🙂 That’s be a big scary bug. The larvae sound a bit like bagworms. This one has nice venation patterns.

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    1. It’s amazing how one missing ‘m’ can change things, thanks for noticing and giving me the heads-up, Steve 🙂 Yes, very similar to the bagworms how they disguise themselves to stop being eaten.

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  3. Looks quite aggressive when seen up close.

    I found a similar-looking bug next to my desk in my lounge a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t work out what kind of bug it was. I didn’t bother looking it up on google images at the time. It was quite large and very creepy.

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  4. This looks like the bug I was just watching excavating a hole in a mound of gopher dirt. Inside kicking it out, then carrying clumps out… is this likely the right species? a relative I’m sure. Northern California coastal.

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    1. What you have described may have been a beetle, a member of the order Coleoptera, rather than a true bug, which is Hemiptera. Without a photo it is hard to be sure.

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      1. Thanks, Peter. I kept hoping to find it again but no luck. Not a beetle, that’s why I was curious enough to try to id it. Here’s one I did have the camera around for. It emerged from some Grand fir (Abies grandis) I was splitting. I confess, I hacked the first one, then decided to let subsequent ones live to be decomposers. As long as they don’t come after me!
        Rats, I can’t see how to attach the photo…

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      2. Hi Becky, I don’t think you can attach photos to comments like you can on facebook or Flickr. Do you have a wordpress blog? If you do you can post it there with a link. Also, you could try uploading your image to iNaturalist which is pretty good at determing species or near species most of the time.

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      3. Too bad I’m such a Luddite, no social media for me. The large and fearsome- looking creature whose photo I wanted to attach is a timber- boring wasp. About 5cm long, it has the face of a hornet and the tail of almost a scorpion with two barbs. I assume one is a stinger and the other an ovipositor, from which it gets its unprintable nickname. (yeah, I know a scorpion is an arachnid, maybe not a good description to an entomologist) The tunnels they make in wood are very impressive and the larvae would make a good meal for any woodpecker.

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