The Wheel Bug, Arilus cristatus, is one of the largest terrestrial true bugs (Hemiptera) in North America. Come with as I explore the woods searching for one of these awesome giants.
This is an excellent video. First off, wheel bugs are awesome. For a while, all I could find were the nymphs, the adults eluded me (but not for long!). The nymphs are beautiful, but lack the “wheel,” instead you have to look for a powdery-blue bug with red accents (also, they’re huge):
Second off, I love the comparison with the leaf-footed bug. The one in the video is an older Leptoglossus sp. nymph. Interestingly, the younger nymphs are very similar to Zelus spp. assassin bug nymphs:
Leaf-footed bug nymphs are on the top (they are gregarious, meaning they tend to stick in large groups), and the assassin bug nymphs are on the bottom–these are solitary, because they’ll eat each other if they stick together.
And note, I do have photos where I’m “holding” assassin bugs, like above, but I want to emphasize that I have never picked up an assassin bug, they have always walked onto me. As long as they don’t feel threatened, they are unlikely to try biting you (I think), but be careful if you are going to handle these things! They are true bugs, closely related to the aptly named stink bugs–and like the stinks, they have a scent gland that they will emit a strongly-scented chemical from if they feel threatened. Chances are, a wheel bug will let you know if you’re getting a little too close.
Thanks for sharing your video!
September 11, 2018