Assassin bugs stalk and lure their victim

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London, Feb 14 (ANI): A new study by scientists in Australia has shown that assassin bugs stalk their victim on its home territory, or lure it away and eat it.

For the study, Anne Wignall at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, and colleagues placed assassin bugs on the webs of five species of spider and watched the drama unfold. She found that the bugs repeatedly either stalk or lure their prey.

In stalking mode, the bugs creep towards their prey and tap the web with their forelegs up to five times before each step.

They also bounce up and down at irregular intervals. The choppy pattern of vibrations creates a "smokescreen" that helps disguise the bug as it closes in on a hapless spider.

Wignall said that in order to lure spiders into their clutches, the bugs pluck the silk threads with their forelegs for up to 20 minutes in a manner that closely resembles the behaviour of trapped prey.

"The spider thinks it's getting a meal, but instead gets eaten itself," New Scientist quoted Wignall as saying.

The study also showed that assassin bugs pause to tap their prey with their antennae before killing them.

The study has been published in the Journal of Ethology. (ANI)

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