It is a beautiful, warm spring day. You are a bee. It is a perfect day for sipping nectar from flowers. You spy a lovely little Daisy Fleabane blossom and fly toward it to take a sip.
You hover over the blossom and begin to drink the warm, sweet nectar. Suddenly, a mutant life form grabs you by your tongue and starts pulling you toward it. You try frantically to escape- but it is too late. The assassin crushes you with its powerful forelegs, inserts a sharp proboscis into your body and then promptly begins to eat you.
Congratulations, you have just become the latest victim of the Jagged Ambush Bug! These insects hide beneath the flower petals and wait patiently for insects to land- at which time the ambush bug pounces- sometimes even catching bees by their tongues as they sip nectar. Ouch.
Jagged Ambush Bugs are in the Hemiptera family which is the family for True Bugs, Cicadas, Hoppers, Aphids and Allies. I'm sure they make a great family portrait. Not!
Jagged Ambush Bugs are also close cousins to the Wheel Bug, which we also have here in Alabama. Be aware that some of these bugs, especially the Wheel Bug can inflict a very nasty bite. The Ohio Nature Blog and Carolyn Hietala Nature and Art Paintings blog have some nice photos and a description of the Wheel Bug. Be sure to visit their blogs- they are both excellent.