jagged ambush bugs

(Phymata spp.)

jagged ambush bug (Phymata sp.)
Photo by Alfredo Colon

Phymata is a genus of ambush bugs known as jagged ambush bugs. There are 109 described species of jagged ambush bugs worldwide, 17 species in North America north of Mexico, and just 2 species in Minnesota. A much needed revision of this genus would probably result in many fewer species. Jagged ambush bugs are found on flowers in open and semi-open areas. The feed on small insects and other arthropods, including bumble bees, wasps, and flies, sometimes capturing prey much larger than themselves.


Most adults are 5 16 to ½ (8 to 12 mm) in length. They are well camouflaged with dark markings on a greenish-yellow or brownish-yellow ground color. The antennae have four segments and are slightly thickened at the end. The protruding mouthparts (beak) is short, has three segments, and is optimized for sucking. The exoskeletal plate between the wing bases (scutellum) is triangular and much shorter than the plate covering the thorax (pronotum). The abdomen is diamond-shaped, widest toward the rear, and has a flattened, greatly enlarged margin. The hardened forewings (elytra) are held flat when at rest and cover only the middle of the abdomen. leaving the sides exposed. The third segment (femur) of the front legs is swollen with muscles that allow it to seize and hold prey.


Distribution Map



24, 27, 29, 30, 82.



Hemiptera (true bugs, hoppers, aphids, and allies)  


Heteroptera (true bugs)  






Reduviidae (assassin bugs)  


Phymatinae (ambush bugs)  



Subordinate Taxa


jagged ambush bug (Phymata americana)

jagged ambush bug (Phymata erosa)

jagged ambush bug (Phymata fasciata)

Pennsylvania ambush bug (Phymata pennsylvanica)






Common Names


jagged ambush bug











On plants: A comparatively short and stout, narrow or prolonged tip on a thickened organ, as on some fruits and seeds. On insects: The protruding, tubular mouthpart of a sucking insect.



On insects and arachnids, the third, largest, most robust segment of the leg, coming immediately before the tibia. On humans, the thigh bone.



The saddle-shaped, exoskeletal plate on the upper side of the first segment of the thorax of an insect.



The exoskeletal plate covering the rearward (posterior) part of the middle segment of the thorax in some insects. In Coleoptera, Hemiptera, and Homoptera, the dorsal, often triangular plate behind the pronotum and between the bases of the front wings. In Diptera, the exoskeletal plate between the abdomen and the thorax.






Visitor Photos

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Seirra Quinn

    jagged ambush bug (Phymata sp.)   jagged ambush bug (Phymata sp.)  

Alfredo Colon

    jagged ambush bug (Phymata sp.)      
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos








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Other Videos
  Jagged Ambush Bug (Reduviidae: Phymata) Feeding on Bumble Bee
Carl Barrentine

Aug 20, 2010

Ambush Bugs are amazing predators! This patient female Phymata has caught and subdued a Tricolored Bumble Bee, a prey item that is clearly several times larger than itself. Photographed at the Kellys Slough NWR, North Dakota (19 August 2010). Go here to learn more about this unique insect: https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/Galveston/beneficials/beneficial-10_jagged_ambush_bug_(Phymata_sp.).htm

  AMBUSH BUG Phymata, unmoved by sweet nothings
Rob Curtis

Sep 29, 2019

Phymata AMBUSH BUG mating pair, unmoved by sweet nothings murmured. Montrose Point, Chicago, 9/7/2019.

  Jagged Ambush Bug (Reduviidae: Phymata) Male and Female
Carl Barrentine

Aug 1, 2010

Photographed at Kelly Slough NWR, North Dakota (31 July 2010).




Visitor Sightings

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  Seirra Quinn

Location: Eden Valley, Meeker County

jagged ambush bug (Phymata sp.)  
  Alfredo Colon

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

jagged ambush bug (Phymata sp.)  
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings






Created: 10/23/2020

Last Updated:

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