STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Kissing bug nymph, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Kissing bugs (subfamily Triatominae), also known as assassin bugs, are most common in the Americas. Most of the 130 or more species are haematophagous (feed on blood). They are so called as they often bite around the mouth, which they are attracted to by the odour of the breath of a sleeping host. A piercing rostrum (feeding tube) is used to suck up blood. All triatomine species are potential vectors of the Chagas disease parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. Magnification: x15 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.
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