Subject: this insects’ got back
Location: Dallas (East), Texas
June 26, 2012 8:13 am
Went for a late evening drive to get a cheeseburger with the windows down at the drive-in Dairyette (worth a trip to Dallas). When I got home and let the dog out there it was, right where you would reach to get the seatbelt on the passenger side. I moved it and took a few pictures. There is an amazing iridescent gold shield on its lower back and a daunting spiked ridge behind its neck. What species and is it male?
Though there is no dearth to the postings on our site devoted to the Wheel Bug (it is one of our Top 10 identification requests) we have decided to post your letter for two reasons. First and foremost, we found your email totally entertaining and informative. Second, we don’t get many adult Wheel Bug photos this early in the season. Most recent examples have been immature nymphs that lack wings and the signature coglike “wheel” on the thorax. Male and female Wheel Bugs look alike, though females are generally larger. You should exercise caution when handling a Wheel Bug. Though they are not aggressive towards humans, they are predators and they possess a piercing beak of a proboscis. The bite is reported to be quite painful, though not dangerous.