Importantly, these bugs not only bite, but their bites spread the parasite that causes Chagas disease, a disorder that does damage to major organs and can be fatal. Assassin bugs like hanging out near their prey— mammals (including humans) with vertebrae — from which they can suck blood.
Where is Chagas disease found in the world?
Chagas disease is common in South America, Central America and Mexico, the primary home of the triatomine bug. Rare cases of Chagas disease have been found in the southern United States, as well. Also called American trypanosomiasis, Chagas disease can infect anyone.
Is an assassin bug the same as a kissing bug?
The kissing bug belongs to the Reduviidae family of insects. This family is also referred to as assassin bugs. It can carry a parasite that causes kissing bug disease in its fecal matter. We call them kissing bugs because when they bite humans, they usually do so around the face and mouth.