Black Corsair (Melanolestes picipes)
April 2, 2007
I recently bought a mercury vapor light and ran it for the first time in my backyard tonight. It attracted quite a few insects from virtually the moment I flipped the switch. A variety of moths (mostly Noctuidae), a few leafhoppers, wasps and beetles showed up. Highlights were a Banded Hickory Borer (Coleoptera Cerambycidae Knulliana cincta) and a Black Corsair – an assassin bug.
Unfortunately, the reason the Black Corsair was a highlight was because I was careless enough to get bitten by it. I was taking photos of it and when it flew away it landed on my leg and I didn’t notice. If I had, I could have just brushed it off my leg and not been bitten. It clearly had no interest in biting me because it was on me for about 2 minutes before it bit me. After it flew away, I went inside to download my photos onto the computer. It only bit me after I sat down, trapping it between my leg and my shorts. Even then, at first it was a minor bite, I’m guessing that it had just jabbed the tip of the beak into my leg. I should have immediately stood up, but instead I grabbed the edge of my shorts to lift them and inadvertently placed my hand on top of the assassin bug. From the bug’s perspective, I imagine that it thought it was in more danger and it thrust the internal mouthparts farther into my leg. At least that’s what I’m assuming happened – all I really know is that when I touched my shorts there was a second, much more painful bite. It hurt much worse than being stung by a wasp, but after about 30 or 40 minutes, it had pretty much stopped hurting. The next day, all that was left was a spot of coagulated blood at the puncture wound and a few intermittent pains in my leg.