Assassin or Wheel Bug Nymph

"Assassin or Wheel Bug nymph on the L-28 Levee"

BIG CYPRESS WMA, FL                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

This is a photograph of an Assassin or Wheel Bug nymph taken along side of the L-28 levee off Alligator Alley (I-75) in Florida. Camera gear used for this subject was a Nikon D90 body and a Nikkor 60mm 2.8 lens with a macro ring for enhanced lighting. This part of the L-28 levee ran through the Big Cypress National Wildlife Preserve and is an excellent place for photographing insects, birds, and animals.

The wheel bug,  (Arilus cristatus), is a fairly common, widely distributed, beneficial assassin bug that preys on man’s pest insects. However, getting bitten by one  usually is more severe and painful than a bee sting. Both nymphs and adult assassin bugs should be avoided or handled with extreme caution.

The assassin or wheel bug adult usually measures from 1 to 1.25 inches long. This assassin bug is a dark robust, rather grotesque creature having long legs and antennae, a stout beak, large eyes on a slim head, and a prominent thoracic, semicircular crest suggesting a cogwheel or chicken’s comb. This is the only insect species in the United States with such a crest. The number of teeth (tubercles) in the crest varies from eight to 12. Females of this species are longer and wider than males, with the abdominal margins being more widely exposed in the females.

The saliva of the Assassin or Wheel bug  contains a toxic, paralytic substance that immobilizes and kills its victims usually within 15 to 30 sec after injection. Immatures of the locust leafminer, Xenochalepus dorsalis (Thunberg), are killed and fed upon while still imbedded in leaf tissue. Arilus cristatus is an especially valuable predator in forest and shade trees because it preys on the well-protected hairy caterpillars that are defoliators.

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    17 Thoughts to “Assassin or Wheel Bug Nymph”

    1. Alan S Hochman Photo (@Photobug52) (@Photobug52)

      Assassin or Wheel Bug http://bit.ly/j7ETK2 #assassin #bug #featured #insects #nymphs #wheel

    2. Stephen.Grimaldi

      I’m quite jealous

    3. PhotoGurl

      I’m very impressed by your shots!

    4. Sandra

      Alan, you take great pictures

    5. Ralph1299

      Lovely photo. Beautiful colour on this insect.

    6. AmyT

      One scary looking insect, my friend!

    7. @EduardoArroyo25

      RT @PHOTOSintheWILD: Assassin or Wheel Bug http://t.co/nogYghjx #assassin #bug #macrophotography #insects #nymphs #wheelbug

    8. PHOTOSintheWILD (@PHOTOSintheWILD)

      Assassin or Wheel Bug http://t.co/nogYghjx #assassin #bug #macrophotography #insects #nymphs #wheelbug

    9. Anthony Rimmer

      Wow Alan, stunning shot. Never heard of one of these until now. You never cease to amaze me mate. Keep up the good work. Tony

    10. Alan S. Hochman

      You’re too kind!

    11. Jane

      Great photo. Fantastic bug.

    12. Alan S. Hochman

      Thank you Jane

    13. Joseph Pegues

      Amazing creature!

    14. Alan S. Hochman

      Couldn’t agree more!

    15. Debi

      I think u are amazing a real treat and give a lot to be admired
      Thank you

    16. Alan S. Hochman

      Debi, you are too kind! Thank you

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    Alan S Hochman Photography