Biting Insects

Triatomine Bug

Family Triatominae – around 130 species

Appearance

Image of Triatomine Bug
  • Similar to bed bugs, but generally much larger (up to 2cm for an adult).
  • Body is very thin and flattened unless it has recently fed, in which case it will have a large abdomen swollen with blood.
  • Elongated head with long antennae and proboscis for feeding on blood.

Lifecycle

  • These bugs show incomplete metamorphosis – developing from an egg through 5 nymphal stages to an adult.
  • The nymphal stages resemble smaller versions of the adult, but lack the wings.
  • The total lifecycle can vary from 4-24 months, depending on species and climate.

Habits

  • Haematophagous – feeds on human or animal blood
  • Associated with the spread of the protozoan parasites responsible for Chagas Disease.
  • Prefers to feed on the face and often defecates straight after feeding.
  • Feeding may take up to 25 minutes.
  • The disease is spread by scratching the bites which are contaminated with faecal matter.
  • Hides in dark crevices near the host during day time – feeds at night.