Autumn comes to the Assassin - Yellow Hickory leaves speckled with brown make a colorful support for this Wheel Bug - Arilus cristatus linnaeus

With a large abdomen, this is a heavy bug as evidenced by the Hickory leaves sinking from its weight.

Chilly temperatures allowed me to take many pictures of this desirable garden occupant as she was quite sluggish.

On close inspection you can see all the tiny hairs that explain her "fuzzy" appearance. It is obvious why they are called Wheel Bugs by the hump resembling a wheel on the back.

I was a little wary of getting too close only from what I have read about the bite they can give. This Wheel Bug was super gentle and not aggressive at all!

(click on images to supersize..... and see all the fuzzy detail)

An extremely beneficial bug as it eats many insect pests according to this site by The University of Florida - Department of Entomology and Nematology: Just be careful and do not handle as it is said to be capable of giving a nasty bite!

Nature Photograph by Carolyn Hietala


nina said...

I had a wheel bug on my sweet gums for most of the summer. Every day I walked--she was there.
We became such good friends, I brought her June bugs, which she loved.
I haven't seen her this fall.

Carolyn Hietala said...

Mighty lucky bug though I don't think I could have offered June bugs... have a sentimental attachment...ha. As children we used to tie a string to a back leg and "fly" them as kites. Sounds mean huh? We always let those tough little guys loose afterwards. As an adult I kept a few as pets... long after they would have normally expired. They absolutely LOVE plums and become very tame to handle.

Daniel Spurgeon said...

Hi Nina,

My brother and I also used to tie thread to June Bugs legs. We had heard about doing that on a TV show- so we tried it. I was surprised how well it worked- although tieing the thread on the legs was really tough for a 10 year old boy.

I linked to this article from my article on the Jagged Assassin Bug.

Your photos of the Wheel Bugs are some of the best that I have seen. I really like the setting for the photos as well.


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