Wheel Bugs!

I came upon an adult Wheel Bug (Arilus cristatus) as I was walking down the boardwalk into the Wetlands (10/26). It too was walking on boardwalk, although on the railing.

A wheel bug slowly walks along the railing of the boardwalk.

Fall is the time of year that I typically encounter these assassin bugs in their adult form. The large insects (they can reach nearly 1.5″) have most likely already mated and deposited eggs on tree limbs, sides of buildings, and maybe on the Museum’s boardwalk. The eggs will hatch next April or May.

wheelbug nymphs
Some of the many wheel bug nymphs on mimosa leaves this past May in Explore the Wild.

The nymphs look quite different from the adults.

wheelbug nymph
It may be difficult to imagine that this small insect with a red abdomen, black thorax and legs, and yellow-tipped antennae is the same creature as the photo above.


2 responses to Wheel Bugs!

  1. Meredith says:

    i had seen the adult form of one of these bugs years ago when i first moved to NC and was mesmerized by it!! i had no idea what it was and never figured it out until just now when i stumbled upon this post! amazing! thanks! 🙂

    • Greg Dodge, Ranger says:

      I agree Meredith, they are amazing.

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