Assassin bug

Assassin bug

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Credit: SINCLAIR STAMMERS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Assassin bug. Macrophotograph of an assassin or kissing bug (Rhodnius prolixus) feeding on a human. This is a reduviid bug which lives in South and Central America. It feeds on human blood and is the vector of the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas disease. The protozoa are present in the faeces of the bug and are transmitted to humans when they enter wounds on the skin made by the feeding bug. They may also enter via the nose and mouth. T. cruzi migrates to the heart muscles and central nervous system, causing serious inflammation and lesions which may prove fatal if left untreated. Magnification unknown.

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Keywords: animal, assassin bug, bloodsucker, bloodsucking, chagas disease, disease vector, drinking, feeding, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, kissing, macrophotograph, nature, rhodnius prolixus, skin, trypanosoma cruzi, trypanosomes, wildlife, zoology

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