A Sydney couple were shocked to discover "around 40-50 little spiders" outside their laundry door and feared their two children might be in danger.
The worried dad, from Sydney's northern suburbs, took to Facebook for answers on Thursday admitting he was "nervous" to think they could be harmful.
"We have around 40-50 of these little spiders outside our laundry door. Does anyone know what they are?" he asked in a community Facebook group. "We have two kids in the house, so nervous whether or not these are baby redback spiders, or something far less harmful".
The Sydney man shared two photos of the seemingly troublesome critters and said that each of them was approximately 1.5 centimetres in length. They're black in colour with eight legs — or six with two antennae — and feature a bright yellow bulb on their backs.
People in the comments were quick to assure the man the critters in question weren't redback spiders — or any spider in fact. Instead, many said the black and yellow insects appear to be assassin bugs.
"They look like ants or assassin bugs to me with 6 legs and long front antenna," one shared."We had the exact same on our laundry door but not as advanced. We bug sprayed them and we are now sorted," wrote another.
What is an assassin bug?
Last year, another Sydney man had the same encounter in his backyard and Dr Darrell J Kemp, Associate Professor of Biology at Macquarie University, identified them as assassin bugs. Not just any old kind though, specifically young bugs that have just hatched. This is made clear by the "brownish structure" nearby which is the egg batch they hatched out of.
Assassin bugs get their name because of how they hunt for animal prey – usually moth or butterfly caterpillars. They generally hang out together when young but become solitary as they mature.
"They don’t have chewing mouthparts but instead a piercing 'stylet', which is like a sharp-ended straw," Dr Kemp explained. "They essentially impale their prey then suck the insides out."
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