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Wheel (Assassin) Bug

Arilus cristatus


Put lower quality pics of this up by mistake. Reposting with better images. The wheel bug (Arilus cristatus), in the family Reduviidae, is one of the largest terrestrial true bugs in North America, being up to 1.5 inches, or 38 mm, in length; it is the only member of its genus. A characteristic structure is the wheel-shaped pronotal armor. They are predators upon soft-bodied insects such as caterpillars, Japanese beetles, etc., which they pierce with their beak to inject salivary fluids that dissolve soft tissue. Because most of their prey are pests, wheel bugs are considered beneficial insects, although they can inflict a painful bite if handled carelessly. Wheel bugs are common in eastern North America, although many people in the region have never seen them. They are camouflaged and very shy, hiding whenever possible. They have membranous wings, allowing for clumsy, noisy flight which can easily be mistaken for the flight of a large grasshopper. The adult is gray to brownish gray in color and black shortly after molting, but the nymphs (which do not yet have the wheel-shaped structure) have bright red or orange abdomens.

No species ID suggestions


GregMasteller 6 years ago

Thank you BrandonBlount. They are a shy bug that hides a lot. Many have never seen one.

BrandonBlount 6 years ago

Awesome Spotting!!! I have only ever seen 1 of these!!! It was in the garden munching on the Japanese beetles. It sort of creeped me out back then (10 years old). I had to go to the library and search for days trying to find out what it was.

Delaware, Ohio, USA

Lat: 40.30, Long: -83.04

Spotted on Oct 10, 2011
Submitted on Oct 11, 2011

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