Subject: What is this bug?!
Location: Groveport, ohio
August 5, 2015 2:16 pm
I found this guy on the screen of one of my 2nd story Windows. When I first saw him in the morning on Aug 5th 2015 in Ohio, he was a normal black/brown combo. Later in the day there was a 2nd bug similar to the first only smaller. It appeared that the larger of the 2 was eating the smaller. While this was going on, the larger bug turned almost a lobster red!
Signature: Jen Kelly

Wheel Bug post metamorphosis

Wheel Bug post metamorphosis

Dear Jen,
We believe you misunderstood what you observed.  We suspect you believe the larger Wheel Bug ate the smaller because the smaller was an empty husk, but rather than predation, we believe you observed the metamorphosis of the larger Wheel Bug and that you mistook the exuvia or shed exoskeleton for the prey.  Immediately after metamorphosis, the adult Wheel Bug is bright red, but as its new exoskeleton hardens, it darkens to a gray color.  Wheel Bugs are the largest North American Assassin Bugs, and they have mouths designed to pierce and suck body fluids from the prey.  Though bites to humans are not common, we have gotten reports and we always caution that careless handling might result in a bite.  Wheel Bugs are not considered dangerous to humans, though there are related Assassin Bugs, the Blood Sucking Conenose Bugs, that are known vectors for the spread of Chagas Disease.

Wheel Bug post Metamorphosis

Wheel Bug post Metamorphosis

Location: Groveport, Ohio

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