This is the first caresheet i've written, so there are probably a few mistakes
The Twin Spotted Assassin Bug
Specific Name: Bigutta
Distribution: West African rain forests
There are thousands of species of assassin bugs throughout the world, but Platymeris bigutta and Platymeris rhadamanthus are the two most commonly kept by the hobbyist.
Contrary to popular belief, not all insects are bugs. To be classified as a bug, the most obvious modification and insect has to have are modified mouthparts. The mouthparts have evolved into a long, thin projection known as a rostrum. The rostrum is used for sucking sap/nectar from plants or the juices from their prey.
These long, slender insects get to approximately 30-40mm. Their body and wings are jet black with two bright white spots on the forewings. There is a yellow stripe around each leg. The juveniles emerge from the egg as miniature versions of the adults, except they don't develop wings until adulthood. Until the second or third instar, the bugs have bright red bodies.
Twin spotted assassin bugs are one of the simplest of all insects to care for. A colony of up to ten adults can be kept in a tank of 10 x 10 x 8ins, as long as there is plenty of hiding places. Cork bark serves very well for this purpose. Provide a temperature between 24-30°C. This is best achieved by using a small heatmat.
As they live in the rain forests, the best substrates to use are leaf litter, orchid bark or peat. The bugs won't dig or bury themselves, so the substrate doesn't have to be very deep, one inch will be suitable. You should provide a shallow dish of water. Every couple of days spray the enclosure to prevent the substrate from drying out. The bugs will also drink from droplets of water that form on the sides of the tank. Assassin bugs shouldn't be housed with any other species of insect due to their aggressive, predatory nature.
The assassin bug will either lay in ambush or hunt out their prey, I cant seem to work out any patterns in their hunting techniques. It will first jump on the bug and hold it in place with its strong forelegs. Once it is holding the prey, the bug will stab it with its rostrum and inject a venom which paralyses the prey. The assassin bug will then sit there for the next hour or so until all that's left of the prey is its skin. The best staple diet is crickets and mealworms. This diet can be supplemented with any small, harmless insect.
A sting from these bugs is painful and can lead to infections. They are very aggressive and will attack anything that moves, so keep your fingers away! Assassin bugs have the ability to "aim" their mouthparts and squirt their venom long distances. If this comes into contact with your eyes, it is extremely painful and can cause temporary blindness. Because of this glasses should be worn while working with these insects.
No special requirements are needed to get these bugs to breed. The females will randomly drop eggs on the substrate. It is best to remove the eggs and keep them in a separate container. Make sure the eggs lie on moderately damp soil and the eggs will hatch in one or two months. Juveniles have the same requirements as adults, just feed them smaller prey.