Rasahus

Rasahus hamatus, copyright Elisa von Groll.

Belongs within: Reduviidae.

Rasahus albomaculatus, the white-spotted corsair
Published 4 December 2021

Though the Hemiptera began their long evolutionary history as plant-feeders, many of their subgroups later switched to a predatory lifestyle, their suctorial mouthparts being just as suited for stabbing flesh as vegetation. Among the most successful of the predatory bugs where the assassin bugs of the family Reduviidae.

Image copyright Jacob Gorneau.

This is Rasahus albomaculatus, a widespread assassin of the Neotropical region, found from Mexico to Argentina (Coscaron 1983). Though not one of the largest members of its genus, R. albomaculatus is a decent-sized bug, growing close to an inch in length. Rasahus is a genus of the reduviid subfamily Peiratinae, commonly known as corsairs for their fearsome aspect. Features distinguishing Rasahus from other genera of corsairs include their large eyes, a deep grove across the head in front of the ocelli, long procoxae, and well-developed spongy pads on the fore- and mid-tibiae. Rasahus albomaculatus is distinguished from other species of the genus by its colour pattern. The body is mostly black with white patterning on the wings. Stripes along the top of the wing and across the mid-length form a crude H-shape when the wings are closed, with separate spots towards the base of the wing and towards the tip. Other noteworthy features include a lack of granulation on the pronotum, and a rounded apex to the scutellum (Swanson 2018).

Corsairs are mostly predators of other insects and not often dangerous to humans (though their bite is supposed to be very painful). Indeed, they may be beneficial to humans as among their prey are believed to be other reduviids of the subfamily Triatominae, the blood-sucking “kissing bugs” that spread Chagas disease (contrary to the Wikipedia page on the western corsair R. thoracicus, corsairs do not spread Chagas themselves). Rasahus albomaculatus may provide its vertebrate co-habitants with far more comfortable living conditions.

Systematics of Rasahus
<==Rasahus Amyot & Audinet-Serville 1843 [incl. Macrosandalus Stål 1866, Sphodrocoris Stål 1866]S18
|--*R. sulcicollis (Audinet-Serville 1831) [=Peirates sulcicollis]S18
|--R. abolitus Swanson 2018S18
|--R. aeneus (Walker 1873)S18
|--R. albomaculatus (Mayr 1865) [=Pirates albomaculatus, *Macrosandalus albomaculatus]S18
|--R. amapaensis Coscarón 1983S18
|--R. angulatus Coscarón 1983S18
|--R. arcitenens Stål 1872S18
|--R. arcuiger (Stål 1862)S18
|--R. argentinensis Coscarón 1983S18
|--R. atratus Coscarón 1983S18
|--R. bifurcatus Champion 1899S18
|--R. biguttatus (Say 1832)S18
|--R. brasiliensis Coscarón 1983S18
|--R. castaneus Coscarón 1983S18
|--R. costaricensis Coscarón & Maldonado 1988S18
|--R. deliquus Swanson 2018S18
|--R. flavovittatus Stål 1872S18
|--R. grandis Fallou 1889S18
|--R. guttatipennis (Stål 1862)S18
|--R. hamatus (Fabricius 1781)S18
|--R. limai Pinto 1935S18
|--R. maculipennis (Lepeletier & Serville 1825) [=Reduvius maculipennis, *Sphodrocoris maculipennis]S18
|--R. myrmecinus (Erichson 1848) [=Pirates myrmecinus]S18
|--R. nesiotes Swanson 2018S18
|--R. paraguayensis Coscarón 1983S18
|--R. peruensis Coscarón 1983S18
|--R. scutellaris (Fabricius 1787) (see below for synonymy)S18
|--R. setosus Bérenger et al. 2007S18
|--R. surinamensis Coscarón 1983S18
`--R. thoracicus Stål 1872S18

Rasahus scutellaris (Fabricius 1787) [=Reduvius scutellaris, Cimex scutatus (l. c.); incl. Peirates rufiventris Walker 1873, Rasahus rufiventris]S18

*Type species of generic name indicated

References

Coscarón, M. del C. 1983. Revision del genero Rasahus (Insecta, Heteroptera, Reduviidae). Revista del Museo de La Plata (nueva serie) (Zoologia) 13: 75–138.

[S18] Swanson, D. R. 2018. Three new species of Rasahus, with clarification on the identities of three other Neotropical corsairs (Heteroptera: Reduviidae: Peiratinae). Zootaxa 4471 (3): 446–472.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *