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Kissing Bug

Kissing Bug, common name for any of several large species of true bugs that suck the blood of mammals, so called because their favorite site of attack is on the face about the lips. These bugs belong to an insect group found almost exclusively in the Americas. The so-called big bed bug, or conenose, of the southwestern United States, is a black insect, margined on the sides of the abdomen with red. This species (about 25 mm/1 in long) commonly bites humans, but also lives outdoors, feeding on the blood of rodents. The South American barbeiro, or conenose, is the principal vector of the parasite that causes Chagas' disease, which is a form of trypanosomiasis.

Scientific classification: Kissing bugs belong to the family Reduviidae, of the order Hemiptera. The big bed bug, or conenose, is classified as Triatoma sanguisuga. The South American barbeiro is classified as Triatoma megistus.

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"Kissing Bug," MicrosoftЃ EncartaЃ Online Encyclopedia 2007 © 1997-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.