Bug of the Month November 2008 – Wheel Bug

Sun, Oct 26, 2008 at 2:29 PM
Hello!! I live in Western PA, right outside of Pittsburgh and I happened to look out of my window and saw this HUGE bug walking acrossed my fiance’s roof of his truck. So we ran outside to get a closer look and he was able to snap the attached photos. It is brown, but marked like a leaf, and its backside actually curved up on the sides like an old Cadillac!! But the most interesting part was the top of his head actually resembled a tiny circular sawblade sticking out of it!! It is 5 days before Halloween and that was just too freaky for me!! lol…..can you please help us identify this? We have checked all over the internet!
Spooked in PGH
Pittsburgh PA
Hi, I’m sorry….I recently wrote to you regarding a large bug on our truck roof. i forgot to tell you that this thing was close to 2 inches long. It was not small bug!!! Thanks! Didn’t know if that would help you or not!!

Wheel Bug
Wheel Bug

Hi Spooked,
Prehistoric is a word that is frequently used by our readers to describe a Wheel Bug. Your letter is so delightful and descriptive. The Wheel Bug, Arilus cristatus, is one of the largest and most distinctive looking of the Assassin Bugs. They are predators and they are beneficial in the garden, but like all Assassin Bugs, they are capable of biting a hapless human and the bite is painful. You can read more about the Wheel Bug on BugGuide. It is the time of the month to select our Bug of the Month for November, and since we will be leaving town for a few days before the first, we have decided to select our winner from the pool of likely candidates early. Congratulations, your image of a Wheel Bug will be prominently featured at the top of our homepage for the entire month of November. Speaking of candidates, it seems we can’t rip our eyes from the news coverage lately, and your state has been so prominently featured. We can’t help but wonder if you have been cheering and waving signs behind one of the presidential or vice presidential hopefuls.

No idea
Tue, Oct 28, 2008 at 11:59 AM
about 2 inches long found in Peru Indiana on oct 25
t martin
Indiana , USA

Wheel Bug
Wheel Bug

Dear T,
Your letter doesn’t have much information, but we are adding your photo to our Bug of the Month for November 2008, the Wheel Bug.

4 thoughts on “Bug of the Month November 2008 – Wheel Bug”

  1. I can personally vouch for this critter’s natural armament, having been shanked by them not once, but twice. DO NOT pick one up with an unprotected hand unless you enjoy the sensation of having a miniscule, live fire-coal buried in your skin for 30 seconds, and of the embers smoldering there for an hour or so afterwards.

    The worst of the pain may not last long, but it was more than enough to make me forget everything else around me for that first 30 seconds.

    If you’re wondering why I picked up a Wheel Bug twice, well, I didn’t. The first time was childish (and ignorant) curiosity; the second was poor lighting and poor choice of hand placement in propping myself against a brick wall…


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