Kissing bug, SEM

Kissing bug, SEM

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Credit: DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Western conenose or kissing bug (Triatoma protracta). Triatoma protracta (also know as the Mexican bedbug) is an assassin bug (family Reduviidae). The nocturnal insect is about 2 cm long, brown-black colour and found in forests. They are common in the southwestern USA and in South America. The blood sucking insect feeds on mammalian blood at night (primarily on wood rats of the genus Neotoma' also including humans) and can cause severe dermatological wounds. The feeding process can cause anaphylactic shock or even Chagas disease since the insect is the vector for trypanosomes. Magnification: x5 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.

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