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Aphid predator (Hemiptera : Reduviidae)
Common thread-legged assassin bugOn this page: Identification & Distribution Biology & Ecology
Identification & Distribution
Empicoris bugs are called 'thread legged' bugs on account of their long thin legs. The best distinguishing character of the genus is the curved rostrum (see pictures below). The front legs are raptorial for catching prey. Empicoris vagabundus has pale sides of the connexivum which distinguishes it from the, more common, Empicoris culiciformis and the, less common, Empicoris baerensprungi. The species is relatively large compared to other members of the genus at a length of 6-7 mm.
Empicoris vagabundus is found on various deciduous and coniferous tree species, especially on dead leaves of those trees. It can also be found on lichens and webs of spiders, and of psocids, where it hunts and eats small Diptera and Homoptera including aphids. It is distributed throughout Europe.
Biology & Ecology
We have only found the common thread-legged assassin bug at Bedgebury Pinetum in Kent on a Montezuma pine tree.
There was a large number of potential prey species but prominent among these were large numbers of Monterey pine needle aphid (Essigella californica ) (see picture below) and active grey pine needle aphids (Eulachnus rileyi ).
It seems very likely that Empicoris was feeding on one or both of those aphid species.
It has been recorded as feeding on the aphid Tetraneura ulmifoliae and the psocid Liposcelis (Encyclopedia of Life ).