Wheel Bug Facts
- Though most insects get referred to as bugs, only species in the order Hemiptera represent true bugs.
- The Wheel Bug also ranks as one of the largest true bugs in its habitat range.
- Though it actually remains extremely common and numerous, few people ever see this invertebrate.
- The creature seems very shy in temperament, in addition to being a master of camouflage.
- It feeds as a voracious predator of many of the species considered damaging pests by farmers and gardeners. Its favorite prey includes Japanese Beetles and caterpillars.
- Given its dietary habits, the rather imposing Wheel Bug remains considered to be highly beneficial, and its presence welcomed.
Wheel Bug Physical Characteristics
The Wheel Bug attains an average length of roughly 1.5 in (3.8 cm), making it one of the largest terrestrial bugs in its endemic range.
Yet its most easily recognized physical characteristic remains the cog-shaped structure on its pronotal chitin. The precise function of this feature remains a mystery.
Its feeding proboscis grows highly elongated and folds under when not in use. The wings also stay small, making them poor fliers. The coloring also seems to be a random combination of gray, brown, and black.
Species: A. cristatus
Wheel Bug Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The invertebrate inhabits a very specific habitat type within its range. It only appears to live on certain fruit trees, locust trees, sunflowers, cotton, and goldenrod.
The insect has no toxin, yet the feeding enzymes injected during biting create a rather painful bite for humans who handle them.
Such bites frequently require several months to heal, sometimes leaving a scar.