Sunday, January 6, 2013

Assassin's Creed

After dark last night I discovered this small "Thread-legged Assassin Bug" crawling along the house wall. From looking on the net it looks like a species of Empicoris, and the local list says we have had records of mainly vagabundus but at least one culiciformis from Guernsey. Anyone any idea if I can tell the two apart?


  1. Wow! Groovy beast.

    I have a pdf of Southwood & Leston (30 MB but I could get it to you somehow). For Empicoris it says:

    1. Large, over 6 mm. in length; side of connexivum pale (Pale cream with brown markings, those on the antennae and legs generally in the form of rings; connexivum entirely light-coloured; L. 6-7 mm.) ............ vagabundus
    Small; under 5 mm., sides of connexivum with dark markings ..................2

    2. Posterior margin of pronotum with spines (L. 4.5-5 mm.) ....baerensprungi
    Posterior margin of pronotum without spines (Cream with brown markings, these
    often less sharply defined than in vagabundus; L. 4-5-5 mm.)......culiciformis

  2. Oh, and to see which bit is the connexivum, see

  3. Thanks for looking it up. The bug seems to have met its maker overnight and, assuming length means nose to bum, I measure it at barely more than 4 mm. The only reference to culiciformis in Guernsey is from La Societe Transactions of 1925.

  4. It looks like the juvs are produced in the summer, and adults overwinter, so this one should be full sized. Also appears that baerensprungi is rare, most records from New Forest and only recorded Jun-Aug. Check that spine feature?

  5. It is adult (fully winged) and at 4 mm it must be culiciformis, plus I can't see the spine of baerensprungi. Very cool - never seen it myself.

  6. Definitely no spines, so looks like culciformis. I'll have to get down the library to read the reference. I usually would check records with Dr Charles David, our resident expert entomologist, but sadly, he died a few months ago of a heart attack.