An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide –

Ambush Bugs Ambushing

This Eight-spotted Forester Moth, Alypia octomaculata, didn’t have a chance once it decided to feed on the nectar of this Queen Anne’s Lace flowerhead. Hidden below the tiny white flowers waiting patiently for the next unsuspecting visitor was a Jagged Ambush Bug (Phymata sp.). The moth alighted, started drinking and suddenly the ambush bug grabbed the moth with its powerful front legs, injected an immobilizing and digestive fluid, and then drank the liquefying nutrients from the prey’s body. Unlike spiders, which have a pair of fangs, ambush bugs have their mouthparts arranged into a single straw-like beak (visible in photo). As is evident, ambush bugs often capture insects much bigger than themselves.

Naturally Curious is supported by donations. If you choose to contribute, you may go to and click on the yellow “donate” button.

4 responses

  1. Jean Pace

    Holy cow!!

    August 1, 2022 at 7:56 am

  2. Alice

    An insect smoothie. That’s a pretty moth.

    August 1, 2022 at 9:34 am

  3. That was interesting! I have actually seen these, on the queen anne lace which we have a lot of, probably on the rare occasions when the ambush insect comes out for a stroll on top of the flower! 🙂 ❤

    August 1, 2022 at 9:47 am

  4. Bill on the Hill

    The title to this post is direct & to the point Mary, well done… By the looks of things the bug is enjoying a LIVE cranial infusion of liquidized brain…
    Bill… :~)

    August 2, 2022 at 7:34 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s