Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/44

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36
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

puncture but to certain skin eruptions, and to some of those early summer skin troubles which are known as strawberry rash, etc. It is in this aspect of the subject that the resemblance to tarantulism comes in, and this is the result of the hysterical wave, if it may be so termed.

Six different heteropterous insects were mentioned in the early part of this article, and it will be appropriate to give each of them some little detailed consideration, taking the species of Eastern distribution first, since the scare had its origin in the East, and has there perhaps been more fully exploited.

Opsicostes personatus, also known as Reduvius personatus, and which has been termed the "cannibal bug," is a European species introduced into this country at some unknown date, but possibly following close in the wake of the bedbug. In Europe this species haunts houses for the purpose of preying upon bedbugs. Riley, in his well-known article on Poisonous Insects, published in Wood's Reference Handbook of Medical Science, states that if a fly or another insect is offered to the cannibal bug it is first touched with the antennæ, a sudden spring follows, and at the same time the beak is thrust into the prey. The young specimens are covered

PSM V56 D0044 Melanotestis abdnominalis.png
Melanotestis abdominalis. Female at right; male at left, with enlarged beak at side. Twice natural size. (Original.) Head and Proboscis of Conorhinus sanguisgus. (After Marlatt.)
 

with a glutinous substance, to which bits of dirt and dust adhere. They move deliberately, with a long pause between each step, the step being taken in a jerky manner. The distribution of the species, as given by Router in his Monograph of the Genus Reduvius, is Europe to the middle of Sweden, Caucasia, Asia Minor, Algeria, Madeira; North America, Canada, New York, Philadelphia, Indiana; Tasmania, Australia—from which it appears that the insect is already practically cosmopolitan, and in fact may almost be