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Ambush Bugs    Phymatidae

Ambush bugs belong to the family Phymatidae.  They are small greenish yellow or brown-and-yellow insects usually seen on flowers.  They sit motionless, ready to ambush their insect prey. Sometimes, their prey is much larger and heavier than they are.  Their front legs, swollen with muscle, are used to snatch and hold prey, such as flies, bees, wasps and butterflies.  They then immobilize their victim by injecting saliva through their short beaks.  Then the juices are sucked back up through their beak.

These bugs are typically 3/8” to 1/2” in length.  When at rest, their wings cover only the mid-zone of their broad abdomen, leaving the sides exposed.  

There are about a half dozen species in Florida. The following images show a Jagged Ambush Bug, phymata fasciata, probably the most common species in Florida.  The pictures were taken in my yard in Deep Creek, Charlotte County.