Do Leaf Footed Bugs Fly? Uncovering the Truth

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Leaf-footed bugs are a family of plant-eating true bugs known for their unique, leaf-like extensions on their hind legs. These insects can be found feeding on various plants, causing damage to buds, flowers, fruits, and seeds. Interestingly, their ability to fly might not be well-known to those encountering them in their gardens.

These bugs are indeed capable of flying, and they typically create a noisy buzzing sound while doing so. Good flyers, they can easily move from one plant to another, increasing their potential to cause damage to various crops in a short amount of time. Understanding their flying abilities can help gardeners and farmers better manage these pests and take appropriate measures to protect their plants.

Leaf Footed Bugs Overview

Physical Characteristics

Leaf-footed bugs belong to the Coreidae family of true bugs and are named after the unique, flattened, leaf-like extensions found on many species’ hind legs1. These insects are usually dark-colored, with some species showing tan, orange, or yellowish markings:

  • 1/2 to 3/4 inch long body
  • Well-developed wings
  • Distinctive leaf-shaped hind leg extensions2
  • Variations in color and markings

Life Cycle

Leaf-footed bugs undergo a simple metamorphosis:

  1. Eggs are laid on plant stems and leaves
  2. Nymphs hatch, resembling smaller, wingless adults
  3. Nymphs molt multiple times before reaching adulthood

The nymphs are often deep orange or light brown in color and lack the “leaf-footed” extensions seen on adults3.

Habitat and Distribution

These true bugs are commonly found in North America, and they inhabit a range of environments. Some important aspects of their habitat and distribution include:

  • Primarily distributed throughout North America4
  • Living in various environments, including gardens
  • Feeding on many different plants, damaging buds, flowers, fruits, and seeds5

Do Leaf Footed Bugs Fly

Flight Mechanism

Leaf-footed bugs can indeed fly. They are good flyers and are capable of making a noisy buzzing sound as they take flight. These flying insects — especially adults — rely on their wings and hind legs for movement. Some of their hind legs possess leaf-like extensions, which is why they’re called leaf-footed bugs.

Seasonal Changes in Habits

Leaf-footed bugs may show changes in their habits depending on the season. During warmer periods, they tend to be more mobile and actively look for food. With increased flying, they make use of their wings and ability to create a buzzing sound. However, when temperatures drop, these insects may adopt less active behaviors and restrict their flying.

Example:

  • In spring and summer, leaf-footed bugs may be seen frequently flying around in search of food sources.

Key Features:

  • Good flyers
  • Create a buzzing sound while flying
  • Hind legs with leaf-like extensions (in some species)

Seasonal Habits:

  • Active flying during warmer seasons
  • Reduced flying in colder temperatures

Impact on Gardens and Crops

Common Target Plants

Leaf-footed bugs target a variety of plants in gardens and crops, including:

  • Fruits, such as citrus
  • Nuts, like pistachios and almonds
  • Ornamental plants
  • Vegetables, including tomatoes and squash
  • Trees, such as palm trees, conifer trees, and Joshua trees

Damage to Shoots and Fruits

Leaf-footed bugs cause damage to plants by sucking nutrients from the leaves, shoots, fruits, and seeds. In particular, they have significant effects on fruits such as pomegranates, watermelons, and tomatoes. Their feeding can result in:

  • Premature fruit drop
  • Discoloration of fruit
  • Hardened, yellow spots on fruit

Comparison Table

Leaf-footed Bugs Squash Bugs
Feed on fruits, nuts, flowers Mostly feed on squash
Belong to Coreidae family Part of Pentatomidae family
Widespread and damage various crops Specific to squash crops

Overall, leaf-footed bugs pose threats to both ornamental gardens and various crops. Targeting an array of plants, they impact the health and productivity of numerous plants, including fruits and vegetables. Their damage to leaves, shoots, and fruits can lead to diminished yield and quality for gardeners and crop producers alike.

Managing Leaf Footed Bug Infestations

Different Methods of Control

Leaf footed bugs, known for their leaf-like expansions on their hind legs, can be controlled using various methods. One effective approach is using natural predators, such as assassin bugs and ambush bugs from the reduviidae family. These predators help to eliminate the nymphs and adults of leaf footed bugs.

Pros of natural predators:

  • Eco-friendly
  • Cost-effective

Cons of natural predators:

  • May not control the entire infestation
  • Takes time to see results

Another method for managing leaf footed bugs is the use of pesticides, including neem oil. Please note, though, that excessive use of pesticides may harm beneficial insects as well.

Method Effectiveness Eco-friendliness Speed of Results
Natural Predators Moderate High Slow
Pesticides High Low Fast

Preventative Measures

Implementing preventative measures can help to avoid or reduce leaf footed bug infestations. Some useful steps include:

  • Weed control: Regularly remove weeds around your home and garden, as they can serve as host plants for the bugs.
  • Debris removal: Clean up debris such as woodpiles, which can provide hiding spots for bugs during their overwintering stage.
  • Row covers: Use row covers on your plants, particularly during the early stages of the bugs’ life cycle, to prevent their access to host plants.
  • Monitor eggs: Keep an eye out for tan or orange eggs on the undersides of leaves, and remove them before they hatch into nymphs.

Following these preventative measures can help protect your plants from infestations and ensure a healthier garden.

Footnotes

  1. Missouri Department of Conservation
  2. NC State Extension Publications
  3. Gardening Solutions – University of Florida
  4. MDC Teacher Portal
  5. Durham NC State Extension

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Leaf Footed Bugs Hatching

 

Red insect building amber cells
May 9, 2010
Can you please identify these red insects that are building these amber cells? They’re on my window. They are slow moving; it was very hard to tell if they were alive or not. The body is 3 mm in length x 1mm wide. The amber cells are about 1 mm x 1mm.
Helen
Raleigh, NC

Leaf Footed Bugs Hatching

Dear Helen,
These are hatchling Leaf Footed Bugs in the family Coreidae.  We are uncertain of the species, but we matched them to a photograph posted to BugGuide.

Letter 2 – Immature Leaf Footed Bug

 

Subject: Blue bug
Location: Elmira, NY
June 28, 2012 11:53 pm
This was found in the grass under a pine tree. It didn’t fly, just walks. The body is blue with two red dots in the head area. The body curves upward. Stripe legs and antenna. Very tiny, less than dime size. Found June 27th, 2012. Outside temperature in the 90’s that day. We’ve lived here 37 years and never saw one like this ever.
Signature: Jackie Berry

Immature Leaf Footed Bug

Hi Jackie,
We apologize for our original email to you as we didn’t look closely and we misidentified this immature Leaf Footed Bug in the family Coreidae.  We believe it may be
Acanthocephala terminalis based on photos posted to BugGuide.

Letter 3 – Immature Leaf Footed Bug is Acanthocephala species

 

Need confirmation of a bug
June 14, 2010
I did some research, and am about 99% sure that this is a Wheel bug. A young one from what I can tell. I am just hoping you can help me to confirm this. I have been trying to use your website for a few years to help educate my kids to not just smush bugs because they are gross or scary. We have learned a LOT over the last few years, and hope to continue. This was a new one for us, and my husband admitted it was a new one for him. He grew up just a few hours north of where we are (N. Tennessee, right on the TN/KY border) and has never seen one.
This little guy was hanging out on a small rosebush, he was walking around the leaves as if to get a better look at us as we peered at him. He kept extending his front antennae out to us as if inviting us to touch him. After reading about Wheel bugs, I am thankful I did not take him up on his invitation. At one point I pointed at him, and you coulud see him straining to reach my finger. He was a rather interesting guy, and I am glad I took photos when I did, as he has now vanished. I am guessing that there are many more back there, but I read that they are usually quite shy.
At any rate, are we correct?
Jennifer
Clarksville, TN

Immature Leaf Footed Bug

Hi Jennifer,
Sometimes identifying immature True Bugs is difficult because they look so different from the adults.  Also, many nymphs from different species look similar.  Though your insect resembles the nymph of a Wheel Bug, it belongs to a different family.  Your nymph is a Leaf Footed Bug or Big Legged Bug in the family Coreidae.  Just last week a similar image was sent to us, and that specimen was identified as a member of the genus Acanthocephala.  You can compare your individual to a photo posted to BugGuide.  This is our last posting before heading east to Ohio for a week with mom.

Immature Leaf Footed Bug

Letter 4 – Immature Leaf Footed Bugs

 

red and black bugs
Location: Covington LA 70433
May 7, 2012 4:38 pm
Hello, I just started gardening not long ago and I have a mix of squash plants, and tomatoe plants, I noticed that my tomatoe plants has been infested with caterpillars, but now I just saw that there is a new bug that is hanging out on my squash plants. I took a picture and looked these up, I dont know if these are beneficial bugs that eat the caterpillars or the bad bugs that dont..please help. thanks in advance.
Signature: thanks

Immature Leaf Footed Bugs

In our opinion, these are immature Leaf Footed Bugs in the genus Leptoglossus, based on this BugGuide image.  Leaf Footed Bugs feed on the fluids of plants and they might spread virus infections to your crops.  You can research some possible species by browsing through BugGuide.

Letter 5 – Leaf Footed Bug on Cannabis

 

Subject:  What is living on my marijuana plant?
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 07/25/2019
Time: 09:05 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
In addition to the predatory Green Lynx Spiders and California Mantids I have living on my pot plants, I now found this impressive guy.  So, is this a friend or foe in my garden?  Right after I took the photos, it flew away.
How you want your letter signed:  Constant Gardener

Leaf Footed Bug: Leptoglossus zonatus

Dear Constant Gardener,
This big True Bug is one of the Leaf Footed Bugs in the genus
Leptoglossus.  Based on BugGuide, where it states “Two yellowish spots on the forward part of the pronotum are distinctive.  Also has a zigzagging white band across the wings (like some other species).  Expansions of the hind tibiae are also much larger and more jagged than most other species.”, it is Leptoglossus zonatus.  This is a plant feeding species, and it has a proboscis designed to pierce the plant and suck its juices.  BugGuide also states:  “Highly polyphagous” which is an indication that if it was on your Cannabis, it was probably feeding.

Leaf Footed Bug? Leptoglossus zonatus

Letter 6 – Mystery: Unknown Immature Leaf Footed Bug is Acanthocephala species

 

Blue spiky fiddle bug with red shoes and feelers
June 13, 2010
This bug caught my attention because it was blue and red against white vinyl siding. (Cheering for USA in the World Cup?)
The metal spikes and two blood red eyeballs on its abdomen make for an evil-looking insect, but it looked more lost than anything.
Photos taken at 5:30pm, 11 June 2010.
Maybe he has a bright idea?
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Leaf Footed Bug Nymph: Acanthocephala species

This is an immature Leaf Footed Bug or Big Legged Bug in the family Coreidae.  Often immature insects are difficult to identify to the species level because they change in appearance as they grow.  We have located a similar looking, also unidentified nymph on BugGuide, and that specimen was from Louisiana.  The person who submitted the photo was raising the nymphs in a terrarium, and there was some serial commentary, but there is no indication that they were ever properly identified.

Leaf Footed Bug Nymph

We have posted a comment on the BugGuide page to inquire if the nymph was ever correctly identified.

Leaf Footed Bug Nymph

Update:  Acanthocephala species
We received a comment from lttlechkn question if this might be the nymph of Acanthocephala terminalis.  This is a good possibility, but the match to Acanthocephala declivis seems even close, based on a photo, also from Georgia, that is posted to BugGuide.

Letter 7 – Mating Bamboo Coreid Bugs from Singapore

 

Subject: Beetle on a bamboo plant
Location: Singapore
September 1, 2014 6:23 am
I’ve been visited by these beetles around August. Three years ago, I snapped a photo of them mating. Just the other day, I took a picture of one laying eggs.
Could you tell me more about them?
Signature: Lee Yew Moon

Mating Leaf Footed Bugs
Mating Bamboo Coreid Bugs

Dear Lee Yew Moon,
These are not beetles.  These look like Leaf Footed Bugs in the family Coreidae to us, but we cannot provide a species name for you.  We did find a very similar looking Leaf Footed Bug from Singapore on AllExperts.

Leaf Footed Bug laying Eggs
Bamboo Coreid Bug laying Eggs

Update:  April 16, 2015
We just received a comment that these are Bamboo Coreid Bugs in the genus Notobitus.

Letter 8 – Immature Leaf Footed Bugs

 

Bug on pommegranite
Location:  Southern California
September 10, 2010 8:04 pm
This was a bug I had never noticed before and curious to see them grouped on one fruit and not on the others.
Signature:  Martyn Watson

Immature Leaf Footed Bugs

Hi Martyn,
These are immature Leaf Footed Bugs, and we have often found adults of the species
Leptoglossus zonatus feeding on pomegranate in Elyria Canyon Park in Los Angeles, but we have not seen the nymphs.  We suspect your nymphs are Leptoglossus zonatus.  We thought we might be able to verify that on BugGuide, but they do not have any images of the immature stages. Leptoglossus zonatus will also feed on tomatoes.  These Leaf Footed Bugs damage the fruit they feed upon by injecting enzymes that cause the flesh to become brown and dry where they pierce the skin.  You may see images of the winged adults on BugGuide.

Letter 9 – Immature Leaf Footed Bugs

 

What are these bugs on my tien tsins?
Location:  Savannah, GA
October 11, 2010 11:21 am
These insects are all over two branches of my pepper plant. They don’t appear to be eating it. What are they? Are they harmful or beneficial to my vegetable garden?
Signature:  K. Kelley

Immature Leaf Footed Bugs

Dear K. Kelley,
These are immature Leaf Footed Bugs in the genus
Leptoglossus.  They look very close to an example, also on a pepper plant, also in Georgia, that was posted to BugGuide.  There is a comment on that post that they are not harmful to the plant.  It is our observation that a west coast relative in the same genus feeds upon pomegranate and tomatoes, and that the sucking of fluids from the plants, and the probably injection of saliva, causes blemishing on the fruits, so we personally do not consider them to be totally harmless to the plant if there are large numbers of individuals.

Letter 10 – Immature Leaf Footed Bug from Brazil

 

Red bug from Brazil
Location: Brazil
February 19, 2011 11:31 am
Hey!! This is a picture from a bug that’s been showing up a lot in my house lately here in Brazil. I’ve seen lots of them around the garden by themselves, but i’ve also spotted them in large groups.
Always wondered what they were, so I thought of asking you!
Oh, and do you know if they are dangerous????
Thanks a lot!!
Signature: Mac

Leaf Footed Bug Nymph

Greetings Mac,
This is an immature Leaf Footed Bug in the family Coreidae.  Leaf Footed Bugs are also known as Big Legged Bugs and Flag Footed Bugs because of the tibiae on the hind legs.  Some species, like your individual, have expanded segments on the antennae as well.  Because of the distinctive markings on your specimen, we would expect it to be relatively easy to identify the species, however, most sources available identify the adult or imago, and the adult may differ considerably from the young nymph.

Leaf Footed Bug Nymph

Letter 11 – Immature Leaf Footed Bug

 

What’s the bug on the sunflower?
Location: South Pasadena, CA
May 16, 2011 12:01 am
I have a rogue sunflower in the yard. Today I spotted this bug on it. I thought maybe a leaf-footed bug, which I knew from WTB. I read that sunflowers are popular with leaf-footed bugs. I was sufficiently confident to name the image accordingly, but nowhere near certain.
Signature: Barbara

Immature Leaf Footed Bug

Hi again Barbara,
We agree that this is an immature Leaf Footed Bug, most likely in the genus
Leptoglossus.  It is probably the Western Leaf Footed Bug, Leptoglossus clypealis, which may be found on BugGuide.  Immature Hemipterans can be quite difficult to identify since many look very similar.  BugGuide does not have any images of immature Western Leaf Footed Bugs, however, this image of a nymph from the genus Leptoglossus from Texas posted to BugGuide looks very similar.  We have been working for hours this morning on a Powerpoint Presentation for the Theodore Payne Foundation instead of posting new letters.  We are hoping you will grant permission to use this image in our presentation.

I’d be pleased to have you use the picture.  With some luck, I’ll be able to make your presentation.  Thanks for your help with the bug i.d.

I will also be using some of your Monarch Caterpillar images.  I have prepared the first half of the presentation and I think it is going to look awesome.  Luckily, through the years, many gorgeous images have come to the website thanks to the wonderful talents of the readership.  It will be great to meet you face to face if you are able to attend Barbara.

Correction June 17, 2011
Now that Barbara has supplied a photo of the adult, we can correctly identify this as
Leptoglossus zonatus.

Letter 12 – Immature Leaf Footed Bug

 

what is this
Location: gatlinburg tn
July 3, 2011 10:45 pm
was in the smoky mountains and spotted this bug. in gatlinburg tn.. what is this
Signature: bug

Immature Leaf Footed Bug

Dear Bug,
This is an immature Leaf Footed Bug in the family Coreidae, but we do not recognize the species.  The metallic blue coloration of the abdomen, red eyes and striped legs are all significant features that might be used for identification.  We have found a match on bugGuide from nearby North Carolina, but alas, it is not identified beyond the family level.  There was a speculation on that posting that it might be
Acanthocephala terminalis, and BugGuide has images of immature individuals that seem to indicate that is a strong possibility.  The information page on BugGuide may provide you with additional insight.

Letter 13 – Immature Leaf Footed Bug

 

Odd bug in Ohio
Location: Ohio, woods near a creek
July 4, 2011 6:46 pm
The bug has three legs and two long antennae, and its eyes are red. The body looks like a V, referring to the wide tail that points upward, and the thorax and head which point up forming a bend, because the junction of the thorax and abdomen is relatively low to the ground. The legs are black with the exception that near the tips they turn white and then orange. The antennae are also black, white, and orange. It seems as though the bug can walk sideways as well as forwards and backwards. I found it on July 4, on my trampoline( probibly doesn’t matter.
Signature: Bradley L.

Immature Leaf Footed Bug

Dear Bradley,
Just yesterday we posted a very similar photo which we identified as an immature Leaf Footed Bug, most likely
Acanthocephala terminalis.

Letter 14 – Immature Leaf Footed Bug from Australia

 

Subject: Unknown bug!
Location: Adelaide South Australia
December 13, 2012 5:41 am
These just hatched out of one of my pot plants, what are they!?
Signature: Thanks, Ben

Immature Leaf Footed Bug

Hi Ben,
This is an immature Leaf Footed Bug in the family Coreidae.  They are sometimes called Big Legged Bugs.

Letter 15 – Immature Leaf Footed Bug

 

Subject: Odd critter in Bristol TN
Location: Northeastern TN
July 18, 2013 6:46 pm
Hi Bugman! This odd guy was spotted by a friend of mine in northeastern TN while she was out berry picking. She said it was about half an inch long. What the heck is it?!
Thanks!!
Signature: Kelly F

Immature Leaf Footed Bug
Immature Leaf Footed Bug

Dear Kelly,
This is an immature Leaf Footed Bug in the family Coreidae, and it looks like a good match for this image on BugGuide of
Acanthocephala terminalis, though we concede it might be a related species.

Letter 16 – Immature Leaf Footed Bugs

 

Subject: Garden bug
Location: North Houston, Texas
May 29, 2014 3:38 pm
I found these guys in my garden on the squash plant. My guess is assasin bug. I’d be happy about that! It would also explain the lack of caterpillars!
Signature: Cliff

Immature Leaf Footed Bugs
Immature Leaf Footed Bugs

Hi Cliff,
In our opinion, these are not Assassin Bug nymphs, but rather Leaf Footed Bug nymphs, probably in the genus
Leptoglossus.  They look very much like the individuals in this BugGuide image.  They are plant feeders and they are not responsible for the dearth of Caterpillars.

Letter 17 – Immature Leaf Footed Bug

 

Subject: Assasin or Leaf Footed
Location: Katy, Texas
April 22, 2015 7:26 am
Hello bugman! Yesterday morning I found 10 of these bugs walking around one of my tomato cages! I hate exterminating bugs it even pains me when my husband gets rid of ant piles. I belive all animals are important to our ecosystem, I’m really hoping these are Assasin bugs and not Leaf Footed
Signature: Karina

Leptoglossus Nymph
Leptoglossus Nymph

Dear Karina,
This sure looks like a Leaf Footed Bug nymph from the genus
Leptoglossus to us, based on this image posted to BugGuide.  Generally, Assassin Bugs are solitary hunters, and if you find Hemipteran nymphs (not hatchlings) in groups, they are more often than not feeding on plants together.

Letter 18 – Immature Leaf Footed Bug

 

Subject: Scary bug
Location: Central Florida
November 14, 2015 5:27 pm
Hi, I was at a graveyard earlier and this bug was crawling on a gravestone. What is it ?
Signature: Mary E

Immature Leaf Footed Bug
Immature Leaf Footed Bug

Dear Mary,
This is an immature Leaf Footed Bug in the family Coreidae.  We believe it is
 Acanthocephala terminalis.

Letter 19 – Immature Leaf Footed Bugs

 

Subject: Strange little bug
Location: Eastern North Carolina
May 13, 2016 10:02 am
Found these bugs next to front door handle. There were three of them about the size of a tick. Thought at first it was a spider but only six legs. They look like they may have just hatched out cause there are what look like egg sacks next to them. Found them yesterday at about 04:00 PM on a sunny afternoon and the temperature was around 80.
Signature: Brian

Immature Leaf Footed Bugs
Immature Leaf Footed Bugs

Dear Brian,
These are immature Leaf Footed Bugs, and based on this BugGuide image, we are very confident they are
Acanthocephala terminalis.

Letter 20 – Immature Leaf Footed Bugs

 

Subject: Orange and Red Insects, over a larger insect. Beetles possibly?
Location: Anahuac, Texas
May 21, 2016 8:00 pm
First of all, I discovered your site many years ago and I love it!
Secondly, my sister sent me this photo and I referred her to whatsthatbug.com and she told me to do it because there were too many bugs on your site. LOL
I checked out the bugfinder site and though it listed 43 bugs, none of them seemed even remotely close to these bugs. All I can tell you is she was in her backyard and discovered this on her one of her plants and took a photo. They are orange /red and black insects with spots and there is even a larger bug that is a brownish color, underneath these colorful bugs. It is currently Springtime and the photo was taken on Wesnesday, May 18, 2016 at around noon, in Anahuac, Texas.
What exactly are these bugs and are they harmful to pets or people?
Thanks so much!
Signature: Katrina

Immature Leaf Footed Bugs
Immature Leaf Footed Bugs

Dear Katrina,
Thanks so much for the compliment, and we agree that upon a first visit to our site, the currently 22,101 postings can appear quite daunting, but knowing a category helps immensely with identification.  These are True Bugs in the suborder Heteroptera, and they are Leaf Footed Bugs in the family Coreidae.  They are all immature specimens.  Adults are winged.  We believe your species is in the genus
Leptoglossus, and your individuals resemble the individual in this BugGuide image, also from Texas, that is identified as Leptoglossus phyllopus.

Thank you so much! I will let my sister know!
Best regards,
Katrina

Letter 21 – Immature Leaf Footed Bug

 

Subject: blue bug
Location: Northwest ohio
May 27, 2016 7:29 pm
I found this little bug at a campground in Northwest ohio *not far from the Michigan border* around early summertime it’s a lot more blue in person and about the size of a dime. But I can’t seem to find any information or identification for this bug. There’s some pictures of it but it’s all from people asking what it is with no definite answer. Just some guesses usually assassin bug.. so what is it?
Signature: Beck

Immature Leaf Footed Bug
Immature Leaf Footed Bug

Dear Beck,
This is NOT an Assassin Bug.  It is an immature Leaf Footed Bug,
Acanthocephala terminalis, and it is harmless.  Since we will be away from the office in June, we are postdating your submission to go live in our absence.

Letter 22 – Immature Leaf Footed Bug

 

Subject: What is it
Location: Massachusetts
January 28, 2017 7:02 pm
I just can’t find what bug this is,
Signature: Greg

Leaf Footed Bug Nymph

Dear Greg,
We are having a difficult time believing you found this immature Leaf Footed Bug in the genus
Acanthocephala in January in Massachusetts.

Letter 23 – Immature Leaf Footed Bug

 

Subject: Exotic looking insect in my garden
Location: Baytown, Texas
May 22, 2017 3:54 pm
Hi, I found this bug hanging out on an azalea leaf in my garden. It has a pear shaped body (black and white – unless that “white” is really sun glare) with red/orange femur, large black tibia, and a red/orange antennae. I have spent hours searching online for its identity! We live in Baytown, Texas (just east of Houston). We have been buying a lot of wood lately for an outdoor project. Maybe this fella hitched a ride? I also wanted to know if it’s a beneficial bug for my garden. Much thanks!
Signature: Perplexed

Immature Leaf Footed Bug

Dear Perplexed,
This is an immature Leaf Footed Bug in the genus
Acanthocephala.

Letter 24 – Immature Leaf Footed Bug

 

Subject: Whats that bug?!
Location: North Carolina
May 26, 2017 6:19 am
What king of bug is this ?? It walks kind of like a crab and has a big butt facing upwards.
Signature: Patricia O’Hare

Immature Leaf Footed Bug

Dear Patricia,
This is an immature Leaf Footed Bug, probably in the genus
Acanthocephala, and we believe its red coloration is due to its having recently molted.  It should soon darken in color.

Thank you!!! I thought it was a pretty cool bug to find

Letter 25 – Immature Leaf Footed Bug

 

Subject: Is this a nymph of some kind?
Location: Crawfordsville, IN
July 5, 2017 10:53 am
Having trouble figuring out what this is. Nymphs seem particularly tricky. Looks a little like an assasin bug nymph. Hoping you can help.
Signature: Ecuaprof

Leaf Footed Bug Nymph

Dear Ecuaprof,
This is a different True Bug family.  This is an immature Leaf Footed Bug in the genus
Acanthocephala, and considering your northern location, it is almost surely Acanthocephala terminalis, which is pictured on BugGuide.

Letter 26 – Immature Leaf Footed Bug

 

Subject:  2 bugs I can’t find
Geographic location of the bug:  Blacksburg, Virginia
Date: 09/05/2017
Time: 08:56 AM EDT
I have 2 bugs I’ve had trouble finding out what they are. I’ve started recording bugs for my YouTube channel and I need to know what they are before I can upload the content. Thanks for your help!
How you want your letter signed:  Violent Beautiful Nature

Leaf-Footed Bug Nymph

Dear Violent Beautiful Nature,
One of your images is of a Leaf Footed Bug nymph, and we believe that based on this BugGuide image, it is in the genus
Piezogaster.  Your other insect is a Stink Bug Nymph.

Letter 27 – Immature Leaf Footed Bug

 

Subject:  Weirdest Ant I’ve Seen
Geographic location of the bu:  Tennessee
Date: 01/21/2019
Time: 10:16 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  My brother-in-law in Tennessee asked me to ID this insect for him, but my knowledge of entomology is largely restricted to what’s native to California.  My internet searches have been fruitless thus far.  Can you help?  Thank you.
How you want your letter signed:  Jessilu

Leaf Footed Bug Nymph

Dear Jessilu,
This is not an Ant, hence your difficulty determining an identification.  This is an immature True Bug, probably a Leaf Footed Bug nymph from the genus
Leptoglossus based on this BugGuide image.

Letter 28 – Leaf Footed Bugs Mating: Leptoglossus zonatus

 

Leptoglossus zonatus
I found these all over our only orange tree and the bean pods of a hyacinth bean vine. We live just north of Houston, TX. Found an article that says they are new to FL. Can you help ID the one on the green leaf?
Thanx
Dan

Hi Dan,
We actually believe your species is another Leaf Footed Bug, Leptoglossus phyllopus. The adults are mating and the insect on the leaf is an immature nymph of the same species.

Update (01/06/2006)
Yes, Leptoglossus zonatus
Dear Bugman Dan,
Yes, the person that submitted this message was right. It is L. zonatus. Nice photos he submitted! I like reading what is posted in your website. I learn a lot especially from the home owners’ point of view.
Julieta
USDA, taxonomy of Heteroptera

Letter 29 – Mating Leaf Footed Bugs

 

Orgy in the Cow-Peas
My boyfriend and I discovered scads of these bugs (after searching your website I think I’ve identified them as some kind of leaf-footed bug) all over our cow-peas a few weeks ago. They stayed there for at least several days, seemingly engaged in a giant orgy. They appear to have made dark spots all over our cow-pea pods. Is it possible that they layed eggs in the pods or the peas themselves? Best,
Allison
San Diego CA

Hi Allison,
These are mating Leaf Footed Bugs in the genus Leptoglossus, but they don’t seem to exactly match the species depicted on BugGuide. We suspect the black marks on the cow-pea pods are the result of the insects feeding. They have piercing and sucking mouthparts, and inject enzymes into the seeds and fruits of the plants they feed upon.

Letter 30 – Mating Leaf Footed Bugs

 

Hello. We live in Peachtree City, GA and have these bugs mostly on our sunflowers. They were mating when I took these photos the Sept. 13, 14, 2006. I think they are a kind of stink bug, but their legs have a flare in them that I don’t see in the other photos on your website. Do you know what these are? Thanks,
Mark Curtis

Hi Mark,
These are Big Legged Bugs or Leaf Footed Bugs in the family Coreidae, in the order of True Bugs, Hemiptera. Stink Bugs belong to the same order, but are in the family Pentatomidae. This species is Leptoglossus phyllopus, and it is considered a pest on ornamental and fruit crops where it sucks juices from plants and causes damage.

Letter 31 – Mating Eastern Leaf Footed Bugs

 

leaf-footed true bugs MATING & all over my tree!
Hi Bugman,
Thank you for your website! You have helped me identify these leaf-footed true bugs. I didn’t realize there were so many of them until I trimmed a few branches off my tree today and saw just how many flew off the trimmed branches! They are ALL OVER my Chinese Pistache tree here in McKinney, TX. I have never seen these before and all of the sudden they’re having a huge “orgy” in my backyard, so I thought I’d get some great pics for your website. If you play “Where’s the True Bug?” with the last picture, you’ll find at least 7 of them gathered on the tree branch. I hope these will make a great addition to your site! Thanks again!
Diana Thiessen J
September 20, 2007

Hi Diana,
Thank you for sending in your photos of Mating Leaf Footed Bugs. They are in the genus Leptoglossus, probably Leptoglossus phyllopus, the Eastern Leaf Footed Bug. According to BugGuide, by “The straight white or pale yellow bar crossing the back is distinctive to this species. In other Leptoglossus species it may be zig-zagging or broken into dots.”

Letter 32 – Panamanian Coreid: Winner of the Beauty Pagent!!!

 

Leaf-footed bug question
Mr Bugman:
After perusing your great website, I’ve come to the determination it’s a specie of leaf-footed bug from the Coreid bug group. Found it in Panama and it was not camera shy. Think you can nail the specie name? Many thanks.
Ted Keene
New London, NH

Hi Ted,
What a gorgeous Coreid. A quick web search didn’t turn up any information, but your specimen is so strikingly colored, we suspect someone might write in with an identification. Sure enough, Eric Eaton provided this identification: ” It is Anisocelis flavolineata, or a closely-related species in that genus. Nice image of one of the most spectacular insects you’ll ever see. Eric “

Letter 33 – Nisoscolopocerus apiculatus, a Coreid Bug

 

Please tell me he’s not a killer
Hi.
After moving to Southern Colorado a few months ago, we have become huge fans of your website while attempting to identify many of the unknown insects (at least to us!) we have encountered here. We were prepared for the rattlesnakes, but it was the 4-5" Multi-colored centipedes, huge wolf spiders and a myriad of Black Widow spiders which caught us off-guard. Anyway, it all got to be a little too much for our 7-year old daughter when I was explaining to her that she needed to stay back from any shiny black spider she might find while out playing in our back yard and she wailed,"Why does everything here want to kill us??!!" (And up until this point I had thought I was doing a good job being calm and factual about the whole thing.) Anyway, we have been able to calm most of her fears regarding new bugs thanks to your great site. Here is one that has stumped us though. We spotted this little guy on the side of our stucco house a few days ago. He was between .25" and .5" long. His unique body shape intrigued me and I can only guess that it’s the larval stage of some common insect. My best guess was some sort of Antlion because we have something like those living in the dirt below where we found him. I would love to know what he is and also for my daughter– does he want to kill us??!! Thanks so much.
Kim

Hi Kim,
We quickly located Nisoscolopocerus apiculatus on BugGuide. Nisoscolopocerus apiculatus is an atypical member of the family Coreidae, the Leaf Footed Bugs or Big Legged Bugs. Other than the identification and the following description: “body mottled gray, pear-shaped (abdomen expanded, head and thorax narrow); wings short in adult, barely covering anterior portion of abdomen; antennae apparently 3-segmented, bent laterally almost 90 degrees after first segment; terminal segment spindle-shaped”, there was not much helpful information on BugGuide, except to say that it lives “on the ground in dry fields and savannahs.” Coreid Bugs are plant feeders and they will not harm you. Thank you for contributing a new species to our site.

Daniel,
Thanks so much for the speedy ID–it made a great surprise birthday present for me ; ) I noticed that the Coreid photos on BugGuide were from the county just north of us, so maybe it’s unique to this area. Regardless, I’m glad to know its relatively friendly. My daughter was also thrilled to see it posted on your site. As an artist-type myself who dreams up great projects which then take on a life of their own, I just have to say,”Keep up the great work. It’s appreciated!!”
Kim

Letter 34 – Panama Leaf Footed Bug and Red-Faced Firetip Skipper

 

leaf-footed bug, moth
Hi Bugman!
Here are 2 photos from a recent trip to Panama – a gorgeous leaf-footed bug (I think it’s Anisocelis flavolineata, according to your site) and a diurnal (?) moth I’d love your help identifying…. thanks, your fan, as always.
Allison

Hi Allison,
Thanks for sending you beautiful photos. The Leaf-Footed Bug is Anisocelis flavolineata, which is also called the Flag Footed Bug. The “diurnal moth” is really some species of Skipper.

Update: (02/13/2007)
Hey Guys, In reference to this unidentified butterfly below, I think I’ve got it. I asked Will Cook at Duke U., and below is his response. Red-faced Firetip (Pyrrhopyge zenodoros)
Ciao,
Eric Duran
Staff Naturalist
Nature Discovery Center

Letter 35 – Mating Leaf Footed Bugs

 

Bug of the Month – Feb 2009, eating habits?
Tue, Feb 24, 2009 at 4:34 PM
Hi, I live in Phoenix, AZ and my kids and I were in our backyard and noticed these bugs my son refered to as “lobster bugs”. We came inside and found your site. Thanks for the science lesson! I was wondering if these plant bugs opened the pomagranate or did they find them and begin to eat them? Is this their plant of choice or will any do?
THS
North America

Leaf Footed Bugs Mating
Leaf Footed Bugs Mating

Dear THS,
The insects in your photos are mating Leaf Footed Bugs or Big Legged Bugs, probably Leptoglossus zonatus as depicted on BugGuide.  We often see this species on ripe pomegranates in Elyria Canyon Park in the Mount Washington area of Los Angeles.  The adult insects are also attracted to our tomatoes.  These insects have sucking mouth parts rather than chewing mouth parts.  The Leaf Footed Bugs use their sucking mouth parts to pierce the skin and suck the juices from the plants.  Enzymes that the insects release create bruise-like irregularities in the fruit.
The ripe pomegranates split their skins on their own.

Leaf Footed Bugs Mating
Leaf Footed Bugs Mating

Letter 36 – Leaf Footed Bug, possibly Giant Agave Bug

 

I don’t think this is a leaf footed bug
Fri, Apr 24, 2009 at 7:34 AM
I took this picture today (4/24/09) in my wife’s herb garden. I tried to research it online and the closest I can come up with is a leaf footed bug, but I don’t think it’s a perfect match. We are located in Corpus Christi, Texas, and it is starting to get warm outside with relatively high humidity. If you are able to identify this bug, is it harmful to the plants? We only have herbs and flowers, no fruits or vegetables.
Tim Weitzel
Corpus Christi, Texas

possibly Giant Agave Bug
possibly Giant Agave Bug

Dear Tim,
You are correct. This is a Leaf Footed Bug or Big Legged Bug in the family Coreidae. This is a family with much diversity. According to BugGuide, there are 33 genera and at least 88 species in North America. We believe your specimen is in the genus Acanthocephala. BugGuide lists five species and four are reported from Texas, though the information page on the genus on BugGuide indicates that all five may be found in Texas. We are not certain which of the species your specimen is, but the only one with a common name is Acanthocephala thomasi, the Giant Agave Bug which “Feeds on juice of the Agave plant, according to this site . Also feeds on legumes “. We doubt any of the species would ever be so plentiful as to damage individual plants.

Update: Wed, 6 May 2009 17:40:24 -0700 (PDT)
Daniel:
The leaf-footed bug from Corpus Christi, TX is indeed in the genus Acanthocephala, but it is unmistakably Acanthocephala declivis.  That steep front edge to the thorax is pretty diagnostic.
Eric

Letter 37 – Leaf Footed Bugs

 

What is this bug found lounging on tomato
September 30, 2009
What is this bug? Beneficial or harmful? The “mother” is present on two of the attached photos.
Lori
Los Angeles

Immature Leaf Footed Bugs
Immature Leaf Footed Bugs

Hi Lori,
We are thrilled that your photo illustrates a multi-generational grouping of Leaf Footed Bugs in the genus Leptoglossus.  There are no adults in your photos.  Rather, these represent at least three different instars, the term used for a metamorphosis stage.  After each molt, the nymph grows and changes.  It is not until the reproductive adult stage is reached that the insect will grow wings that are fully functional.  We believe they are probably Leptoglossus zonatus which may be viewed on BugGuide.  We often find this species on our own tomatoes in our Mount Washington, Los Angeles garden, and on pomegranates growing in Elyria Canyon Park.  Here is the information posted to BugGuide on this sucking insect:  “Identification  Two yellowish spots on the forward part of the pronotum are distinctive. Also has a zigzagging white band across the wings (like some other species). Expansions of the hind tibiae are also much larger and more jagged than most other species.  Range  Primarily a southwestern species (including CA, AZ, TX) but now also spreading into southeastern states. First LA report 1990s. First FL report 2005.  Food  Feeds on flowers and fruits of many plants, including many crops such as citrus, tomatoes, and various members of the squash family.  Remarks  Considered a pest not only for the feeding damage on various crops but also as a transmitter of plant pathogens.

Hi Daniel,
Yes, that’s them! Thank you for the quick reply and identification.  I’m the only one I know that actually thinks they’re adorable.  I’m always fascinated by the critters that decide that my backyard is a hospitable place to take residence.   While they are considered pests, they have become members of the family the past week, so I’ll let them stay.  Unless you advise otherwise.
Question, if there are no adults, is that NOT the mother that’s been brooding over the kids?   OR is it possible that immature leaf-footed bugs can reproduce?
Regards,
Lori

Hi Lori,
Earlier today, we posted an adult of the species found in Long Beach.  The immature nymphs cannot reproduce.  The behavior that you have labeled brooding is simply an aggregating tendency found in many True Bugs.  Since tomato plants only last one season, any pathogens spread to the plant would not affect next year’s crop of tomatoes.  We often let Tomato Hornworms and Katydids feed off of our plants.
We also do not disturb the Leaf Footed Bugs as they are never plentiful. We do mercilessly remove aphids, and the new African Painted Stink Bugs from our plants, and we try to keep our citrus clear of Citrus Leaf Miners.

Letter 38 – Leaf Footed Bugs in Honduras

 

assasin or bad guy?
January 25, 2010
Hello, This bug was congregated with about 16 of his friends on the leaves of a tomato plant. I also found 2 of his cousins on an almost ripe tomato. They are slow moving and make no effort to fly. They have 2 red/orange dots on their sholders.
brad
Balfate, Honduras (North Coast)

Immature Leaf Footed Bugs

Hi Again Brad,
We already provided you with a very short answer, but now that time allows, and we are preparing to post your letter and images, we can give a more detailed answer.  These are Leaf Footed Bugs in the family Coreidae, and they are immature nymphs without fully developed wings.  Some tropical species in the family have greatly exaggerated hind tibiae, and they are known as Flag Footed Bugs. Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide a more specific identification with regards to genus or species.  Bugs in the family Coreidae suck nutrients from plants, but they are not generally a problem unless they are very numerous.  An exception would be those that feed upon fruits including tomatoes.  In California, we have a species of Leptoglossus that injects saliva into fruits such as pomegranate, and this renders portions of the fruit unpalatable.  The same may hold for your species if it feeds upon the fruit of the tomato.  We also believe that sixteen individuals feeding upon a single tomato plant may compromise the health of the plant.

Immature Leaf Footed Bug

Daniel,
Thanks a million for the great information. I have continued to inspect my garden for the presence of additional Flag/Leaf footed bugs, but I have not found any others. I find it interesting that they were all congregated on the one tomato bush and nowhere else. Thanks to your help I was able to learn a great deal more about this family of bugs and also gain some additional understanding on an unrelated pest (squash Vine Borer) in my garden. We are using our garden as a test plot for school garden projects we will be working with here in Honduras. Our learning curve is steep and we are grateful to have a resource such as yours.
Cheers
Brad and Trish Ward
Hospital Loma de Luz, Balfate, Colon, Honduras

Hi Brad,
We applaud your noble efforts in Honduras.  We suspect the reason that all the immature Leaf Footed Bugs were congregated on one plant is that they came from the same brood.  Since they have not yet developed wings, they cannot fly to other plants.  The winged female was able to fly to a choice food plant and lay her eggs, and since the plant was selected by the female as a food source, there was no need for the young to disperse.

Update from Karl
Hi Daniel:
The two yellow/orange spots on the pronotum are characteristic of both the adult and late instar nymphs of Leptoglossus zonatus. The Bugguide also has an image of a nymph. The species ranges from northern South America to the southwest USA. According to Wikipedia: “In Honduras, where the bug is known commonly as chinche patona (large-legged bug), it is a minor garden pest.” It appears it may be extending its range eastward in the southern USA, and the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (Division of Plant Industry) has recently issued a ‘Pest Alert’ for this species in Florida. Regards.
Karl

Letter 39 – Mating Leaf Footed Bugs

 

Mating Leaffooted Bugs on Thistle
April 13, 2010
I love your site and it has really helped me learn more about identifying bugs. I spotted this pair of Leptoglossus phyllopus (leaffooted bugs) on a dense thistle plant in central Florida just this past week. All the ‘webbing’ in the photo is just fibers from the thistle plant, which according to your site is the favorite haunt for this particular bug.
Karen H.
Belleview, FL

Mating Leaf Footed Bugs

Hi Karen,
Your mating Leaf Footed Bugs are a marvelous addition to our website and our Bug Love pages.  According to BugGuide, Leptoglossus phyllopus may be identified because:  “The straight white or pale yellow bar crossing the back is distinctive to this species. In other Leptoglossus species it may be zig-zagging or broken into dots. In one species (L.ashmeadi) it is yellow-orange.
”  BugGuide also mentions its fondness for thistle.

Letter 40 – Molting Leaf Footed Bug

 

Good or Bad bug?
June 3, 2010
This was in my garden in Austin TX. I was not sure if I should have chased it away or not. Since it scared me, I took its picture and left it alone 🙂 I don’t even know what category to look in?
Thanks!!!
Kat
Austin TX

Molting Leaf Footed Bug

Hi Kat,
This is an immature Leaf Footed Bug or Big Legged Bug in the family Coreidae, but we are uncertain of the species.  The immature nymphs often look nothing like the adults which are more commonly pictured in identification guides.  Additionally, the coloration of a freshly molted individual will quickly darken.  Your photo of a molting immature Coreid Bug is quite stunning.

Letter 41 – Mating Leaf Footed Bugs

 

Bug Love
June 9, 2010
Here’s another picture for bug love. I caught these two in an intimate imbrace while I was out hiking in Capitol Reef National Park. I sat down to take a snack break and caught some movement on the skunkbush. I’m not much of a vouyer, but they were so beautiful I just had to snap a shot. I’d love to know what these bugs are.
As always, thank you!
Holly
Capitol Reef, Utah

Mating Leaf Footed Bugs

Hi Holly,
These are mating Leaf Footed Bugs in the genus Leptoglossus, more specifically, Leptoglossus clypealis.  According to BugGuide:  “A spine extending forwards from the tip of the nose (technically known as the tylus) distinguishes this species.
”   We are setting your letter and photo to post in the future during our absence between June 15 and June 22 so that our readership can be treated to daily doses of What’s That Bug? while we are out of the office.

Letter 42 – Mating Leaf Footed Bugs

 

Orange Antenna’d Mating Stink Bugs?
Location: Quakertown, PA
June 20, 2011 1:06 am
The body of these bugs looks just like that of a Stink Bug, but these are black and have orange antennae. Also… they seem to be mating. Could you tell me what they are? This picture was taken today, north of Philadelphia, PA
Signature: Jeff

Mating Leaf Footed Bugs

Dear Jeff,
These are actually Leaf Footed Bugs in the family Coreidae, not Stink Bugs.  We believe they are
Acanthocephala terminalis, which according to BugGuide can be identified by the:  “Apical segment of antenna orange or yellowish, contrasting sharply with the basal three segments, which are dark; flange on hind tibia wavy-margined, narrowing distally and extending only two-thirds the length of the tibia; pronotum with small but distinct tubercles present, surface with covering of golden hairs; abdomen sinuate in outline, the sides of the abdomen bulging outward beyond the wings when viewed from above (these last three characteristics distinguish A. terminalis from A. confraterna).”

Letter 43 – Leaf Footed Bugs Mating

 

More Leaf-Footed Bugs
Location: Northeast Florida
June 20, 2011 6:00 pm
I found some Leaf-Footed Bugs mating on my tomato plants today, and I took a few pictures. In these photos I don’t see the yellowish spots on the forward part of the pronotum that were obvious in the first bug picture I sent you. So do I have two varieties of Leaf-Footed Bugs on my tomatoes?
Signature: Karen

Mating Leaf Footed Bugs

Hi Again Karen,
These mating Leaf Footed Bugs are in the same genus as your previous submission,
Leptoglossus, however they represent a different species.  We believe this is Leptoglossus phyllopus based on images posted to BugGuide.

Mating Leaf Footed Bugs

Hi Daniel,
Thank you again for your help. At first I assumed these bugs were the same as the bug in the first photo I sent you, but when I looked at the pictures closely I didn’t see the spots on the pronotum. It’s hard to believe that I could have two species of a bug I’d never heard of or seen before on my tomato plants!
Karen

Letter 44 – Leaf Footed Bugs

 

Leaf-Footed Bug?
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
April 25, 2012 5:22 pm
Shouldn’t it be leaf-legged? Anyhow, I found these two on a Cow’s Tongue Prickly Pear while taking flower pictures. How can I identify the species?
Signature: Ranger Dan

Leaf Footed Bugs

Dear Ranger Dan,
According to BugGuide, Leaf-Footed Bugs is the accepted common name, but we have also seen the common names Big Legged Bug and Flag Footed Bug applied to the family Coreidae.  To avoid any confusion, you can stick to the family name Coreid Bugs.  We wish you had supplied a dorsal view of the individuals you found.  We suspect these are members of the genus
Narnia based on BugGuide, and there are a few species reported from Arizona.

Thanks Daniel,  After looking around a bit, I did come up with Narnia, also.  Funny, I never even thought to take a shot from a different view.  Now I know better!!
I put the picture of the Narnia on my blog as well as another leaf-footed bug, Chelinidea vittiger.  Next time I come across that prickly pear, I will see if I can spot the Narnias again and get some better shots.
http://azgronsethnature.blogspot.com/2012/04/cactus-bugs.html
Dan

Leaf Footed Bug: Narnia femorata

Hi Again Ranger Dan,
Based on this photo on BugGuide, we are inclined to agree that this is most likely
Narnia femorata.

Leaf Footed Bug

Letter 45 – Leaf Footed Bugs

 

Subject: Wierd Inset ID
Location: California
August 12, 2012 8:30 pm
Any idea what these flying fast-breeding black insects are? We are in the valley in CA. Many thanks. Allan
Signature: Allan

Leaf Footed Bugs

Hi Allan,
California has many valleys.  Are you in the San Fernando Valley?  These are Leaf Footed Bugs,
Leptoglossus zonatus.  According to BugGuide:  “Feeds on flowers and fruits of many plants, including citrus, tomatoes, various members of the squash family, and many other plants.”  Close to downtown Los Angeles, we often find them feeding on the fruit of pomegranate trees.

Daniel,
Thanks so much for your response.
We are in Reseda, CA 91335.
The red container is a hummingbird feeder, and there are tomato plants nearby.
Perhaps they are attracted to the sugary liquid in the h.b. feeder, although they don’t seem to be on the feeder itself, just close by.  Maybe they steal the juice at night time.
This is the first year (in the 4 years we have lived here) that I’ve seen them.
I’m  wondering if they are harmful to humans at all?
Again, great service and thank you.
Best regards,
Allan

Hi Allan,
When we posted your photo, we cropped out most of the hummingbird feeder, and in our opinion, it is not relevant, however, we may be wrong.  Leaf Footed Bugs, like other Hemipterans, have mouths designed for piercing and sucking, in this case, sucking the fluids from plants.  Though they are not directly harmful to humans, they may spread viruses or other pathogens to plants, which BugGuide mentions:  “Considered a pest not only for the feeding damage on various crops but also as a transmitter of plant pathogens.”

Letter 46 – Mating Leaf Footed Bugs

 

Bug Question
Location:  Simi Valley, California
May 13, 2013
My friend found these guys getting sexy in his back yard. Any ideas on what they may be?
Becky

Mating Leaf Footed Bugs
Mating Leaf Footed Bugs

Hi Becky,
Since your question came to Daniel’s personal email address and not through the official WTB? website, you did not have to fill out a form which contains a location.  We suspect since you live in Los Angeles and since there are ripe oranges in the photo, your friend took this photo in Los Angeles, though we have become such a global community through the internet so we do not want to make assumptions.  Please provide us with a location.  These are mating Leaf Footed Bugs, and since there are two yellowish spots visible on the pronotum, we are confident this is
Leptoglossus zonatus, a common Southern California species.  See BugGuide for additional information.

It was taken in Simi Valley.

Letter 47 – Leaf Footed Bugs

 

Subject: i have these weird beetle looking bugs all over the outside of my house
Location: los angeles, california
October 7, 2013 3:23 pm
I do not know what these bugs r but they r crawling all over my window screen and other places on the outside of the house and they r increasing. And they r dying on my windowsill. I would like to make sure these bugs r not dangurous or harmfull and what we can do to get rid of them
Signature: frankie frankel

Leaf Footed Bug
Leaf Footed Bug

Dear frankie,
You have Leaf Footed Bugs in the genus
Leptoglossus, possibly Leptoglossus zonatus.  They are known to enter homes to hibernate when the weather turns.

Leptoglossus zonatus
Leptoglossus zonatus

Letter 48 – Newly Hatched Leaf Footed Bugs

 

Subject: Insect emergence
Location: North Florida
December 15, 2013 8:17 pm
Hi! This looks like an emergence of insects from the sack that looks like a twig. The sack is attached to a cement block wall of my mom’s house near Jacksonville, FL. I wasn’t able to find any other pictures like this on my Google search. I thought they might be spiders but I’m not sure. Can you help?
Signature: Donna

Newly hatched Leaf Footed Bugs
Newly hatched Leaf Footed Bugs

Dear Donna,
These are newly hatched True Bugs in the suborder Heteroptera, and hatchlings may be difficult to identify to the species level.  With that said, we believe these are newly hatched Leaf Footed Bugs in the family Coreidae, and there is a photo on BugGuide of hatchlings identified as being in the genus
Leptoglossus that looks very much like your image.  There are several members from the genus in Florida.

Letter 49 – Leaf Footed Bug from Peru

 

Subject: Colorful bug from Peru
Location: peru near Machu Picchu
December 29, 2013 4:01 pm
I have found out that this bug is from Peru, that’s all the info I have.
Signature: Brandon

Immature Leaf Footed Bug
Immature Leaf Footed Bug

Hi Brandon,
This is an immature Leaf Footed Bug in the family Coreidae, and we already have it represented in our archives, however the image submitted in 2008 was never identified to the genus or species level.  It continues to remind us of the Giant Mesquite Bug nymphs from the genus Thasus, however this individual lacks the modified, flattened antennae feature that is evident in that genus.  We are still not able to provide a conclusive identification as we have not had any luck locating other images that match on the internet.

Letter 50 – Leaf Footed Bug from Panama: Hypselonotus atratus

 

Subject: pretty bug
Location: Chiriqui province Panama
January 13, 2014 4:48 pm
What is this pretty guy?
Signature: Linda

Leaf Footed Bug:  Hypselonotus atratus
Leaf Footed Bug: Hypselonotus atratus

Hi Linda,
This critter,
Hypselonotus atratus, gave us a bit of difficulty in the past, because though it resembles a Red Bug in the family Pyrrhocoridae, it is actually in the Leaf Footed Bug family Coreidae.

Leaf Footed Bug:  Hypselonotus atratus
Leaf Footed Bug: Hypselonotus atratus

Letter 51 – Leaf Footed Bug scares wife in car

 

Subject: Bug in Car
Location: Redlands, Ca
January 29, 2014 10:25 pm
Found this bug in the car in Redlands, California
Terrified the wife. The only power I have over her is not being terrified by bugs myself.
Would love to know what you think it is.
Thank you for your expertise.
Signature: Dana Law

Western Leaf Footed Bug
Western Leaf Footed Bug

leaf footed bug genus Leptoglossus

Daniel,
You’re awesome!
I’ll make a well deserved donation later today when I’m at my desktop.
Thank you,
Dana Law
San Diego

Thanks Dana,
I dashed that answer off before rushing out to go to work.  I should have told you they are harmless.

Daniel,
I had a feeling it wasn’t dangerous.
It was excited to learn what it was. The penultimate example of the “Hive” mind.
The best minds brought together by technology, experience and knowledge.
These are the best of times.
Thanks again.
Dana Law
P.S. Here’s a slug from southern Washington on the Pacific Crest Trail. Not a bug but……

Hi again Dana,
Now that you have sufficiently fluffed our ego, we decided to dig through the trash, prepare your photo for the web, and provide a bit more information for a true posting.  We believe this is a Western Leaf Footed Bug,
Leptoglossus clypealis, based on the BugGuide description “A spine extending forwards from the tip of the head (the tylus) is distinctive.”  See this image on BugGuide for a closeup of the tylus.  A more dorsal view of this Leaf Footed Bug from above would make our suspicion more definite as the tylus is partially obscured by the antennae.  Though we have already indicated this Western Leaf Footed Bug is not harmful to humans, BugGuide notes:  “Can be a pest in pistacio, almond, plums” and we have also observed them feeding on pomegranates.  They feed by piercing the skin of the fruit with their proboscis and sucking fluids from the plant.  The release of an enzyme at the site of the feeding results in blemishes on the fruit that make parts of it inedible to humans.

Letter 52 – Molting Leaf Footed Bug

 

Subject: What is it?
Location: Ware, massachusetts
July 7, 2014 2:48 pm
We found this little guy in iur back yard! We wanna know if he’s dangerous or harmless? And what on earth type of bug it is? He looked somewhat like a scorpion too us, but 1. Too small and 2. No scorpions around here.
Signature: Thank you so much, Amanda Courchesne

Molting Leaf Footed Bug
Molting Leaf Footed Bug

Dear Amanda,
This is a molting Leaf Footed Bug nymph, and you can see its cast off exoskeleton in the upper right side of the image, which we rotated.  We believe this is a member of the genus
Acanthocephala, probably Acanthocephala terminalis which is pictured on BugGuide.

Letter 53 – Leaf Footed Bug from the Philippines

 

Location: Philippines
April 2, 2016 5:20 am
Hey ! Me and my friends found a bug in our backyard, I can’t identify it so can you help us ? If you find out what it is,can I keep it as a pet ?
Signature: Dear,

Leaf Footed Bug
Leaf Footed Bug

You can tell by the enlarged tibiae on the hind legs that this is a Leaf Footed Bug in the family Coreidae.  They are not harmful, but you will need to provide it with the appropriate food if you are going to keep it.  Leaf Footed Bugs feed on the fluids from plants, deriving nutrition by sucking the fluids with the piercing and sucking mouthparts.  We believe your Leaf Footed Bug is a Citron Bug, Leptoglossus gonagra, which we identified on the Flying Kiwi site.  We also found an image on this blog.  According to BugGuide, it is “polyphagous” and a “minor pest of citron groves in FL, major pest on several crops in S. America.”  If you have access to Citron, you can place a ripe fruit in the container to see it it will feed.  If no citron is available, try an orange.

Leaf Footed Bug
Leaf Footed Bug

Letter 54 – Leaf Footed Bugs attracted to Lights

 

Subject: What the heck?!
Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
August 29, 2016 10:03 pm
I’ve never seen one of these before in my life and now they’re crowding around on of our lights outside. We don’t have the problem on the other side of the house. These things love to dive bomb me too.
Are they poisonous? Do they bite? How do I make them go away!?
Signature: Joanna

Leaf Footed Bugs
Leaf Footed Bugs

Dear Joanna,
These are Leaf Footed Bugs in the genus
Leptoglossus, and they are native to your area.  They are not poisonous.  We have never gotten a report of a person being bitten, but we would not discount that possibility.  Turning off the lights that are attracting them will solve your problem.

Leaf Footed Bugs
Leaf Footed Bugs

Letter 55 – Mating Leaf Footed Bugs

 

Subject: Mating Leptoglossus phyllopus
Location: High Point, N.C.
July 16, 2017 6:35 pm
Thought you might could add this to the Bug Love section, if you still have it. I couldn’t find it while on the site on my mobile phone. Plant: Platycodon grandiflorus
Signature: Susan Coe

Mating Leaf Footed Bugs

Dear Susan,
Thanks for sending in your image of mating Leaf Footed Bugs.  Our Bug Love tag is still going strong.

Letter 56 – Mating Western Leaf Footed Bugs on Tomato

 

Subject: bug on tomato
Location: Sacramento, California
August 14, 2017 12:39 pm
Suddenly quite a few of these. On tomatoes only. Sacramento, California.
Signature: BugTomatoes

Mating Western Leaf Footed Bugs

Dear BugTomatoes,
These are mating Western Leaf Footed Bugs, and you do not want them proliferating on your tomatoes.  They have piercing mouthparts that suck fluids from plants, including ripe tomatoes.  They inject an enzyme that makes the fruit unpalatable to humans.

Letter 57 – Leaf Footed Bug

 

Subject:  Monarch butterfly predator
Geographic location of the bug:  Phoenix, AZ
Date: 10/30/2017
Time: 06:11 PM EDT
This bug is eating my monarchs.  What kind is it and what can I do to  prevent them attaching my monarchs.
Many thanks.
How you want your letter signed:  Kathryn e

Western Leaf Footed Bug: Monarch predator?????

Dear Kathryn,
We need some clarification.  How do you know these Western Leaf Footed Bugs,
Leptoglossus clypealis, are feeding upon your Monarchs?  Are they feeding on adult Monarchs or Monarch Caterpillars?  Leaf Footed Bugs are not known to be a predatory family.  Furthermore, they would not be feeding upon milkweed which is the only place they would encounter Monarch Caterpillars.  We seriously doubt your claim which is why we would like to know details.  The Western Leaf Footed Bug can be distinguished from other similar looking members of the genus by the presence of a spine on the head known as a tylus, a feature pictured on BugGuide.

Daniel,
First let me thank you for taking the time to help me.  I know you and others volunteer your time for which, I am very grateful.  I am new to studying Monarchs as I have started planting milkweed, caring for eggs, larva, and butterflies, releasing Monarchs here in AZ, and documenting data with the SW Monarch Study for the last two years.  This is my first foray into bug identification and study.
Thank you for letting me know the name of the bug and I am glad to know he is not a predator.  I have an abundance of aphids, Assassin bugs, and green lacewings so there is much going on in the garden.
Thank you so much for volunteering your time, it is truly a gift.
Kathryn Elsaesser

Thanks for responding Kathryn,
If we are understanding your response correctly, you merely suspected this might be a Monarch predator and you have no actual first hand observations of any predation.

Yes, that is correct.

Authors

  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

    View all posts
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26 Comments. Leave new

  • No doubt in my mind that this is a Acanthocephala declivis based on the tubercles on the pronotum and the shape of the expanded flanges on the hind tibial shaft.

    http://bugguide.net/node/view/164351

    Reply
  • I would agree with L. zonatus. These Leaffooted Bugs have the yellow/white spots on the pronotum which are visible in this submitted image.

    http://bugguide.net/node/view/164495

    Reply
  • I have a control for the “leaf-footed bug” we have a small orchid and were plagued with this insecticide resistant insect. We tried seven, malathion, various pepper based safer formulas, nothing worked. We even tried vacuuming them off the Pomegranates, which was very ridiculous indeed. Finally we sewed rectangular bags out of fiberglass screen, about the size of lunch sacs. We covered the young fruit and tied the bags on the stems. Floating the fruit in the center of the stiff screen sac. this effectively stopped them and was an organic solution. It also allowed the pomegranate to ripen well.With out the bacteria injected by this little devils piercing mouth parts. The bags are reusable season after season. If you want to order some from me email. They are quite interesting to look at unless you have loads of them breeding all over your pomegranate harvest!

    Reply
  • Even though its not identified on BugGuide, could it possibly be Acanthocephala terminalis?
    Using the photos on this page as a reference http://freepages.misc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~larsonmorgan/True%20Bugs/

    Reply
    • Thanks for assisting with this identification. If it is not Acanthocephala terminalis, is is surely another member of the genus.

      Reply
  • Thanks for answering so quickly!!! And congratulations for your site, it is really great!
    oh, and, sorry, but do you know if they are dangerous? it’s cause they have these pointy things on they back that look kind of creepy!!
    thanks again!

    Reply
  • I found a similar bug in my home. Western pa. can you tellme why they would travel in? Matting? Looking for food? Warn place?

    Reply
  • Great little web site you have. After i checked
    there was a few pics possibly not showing
    in the correct way?

    Reply
  • Rebecca Hillenbrand
    August 23, 2014 7:03 pm

    I, too have these little devils in my yard. I thought they were helpful assassin bugs, so I left them alone. Well, they have increased in number and went from destroying my apricot crop to destroying most of my tomatoes. I’m not a fan of pesticides, I’ve never used any, but I’d like to know how to control these pests so that I can somewhat end the frustration before the next crop of food is destroyed. I think they’re on my persimmons as well, I’m experiencing early fruit drop there.

    Reply
    • We don’t provide extermination advice, so we would advise you to check federal agricultural websites for information on control.

      Reply
  • I know this is a reply to a very old post, but who knows, maybe I’ll get an answer to my question.
    Which is: Is the enzyme and/or bacteria that the Leaf Footed Bug injected into my Tomatoes and
    Bell Peppers harmful to humans?

    I threw out all my Tomatoes because these guys were “IN MASS” mating all over my fruit, ripe or not. I’ve still got quite a few beautifully colored Bell Peppers that I’m in the process of harvesting right now. They got on the peppers after the tomatoes were gone, but not nearly so many, and I was very diligent about keeping them off. But, you know you can’t be everywhere all the time.
    I sure would like to reap something out of a whole years work–from seed, but I don’t want to
    poison my family.
    Any advice would be appreciated. I don’t see a place to post imagines, but Thank You

    Reply
  • I know this is a reply to a very old post, but who knows, maybe I’ll get an answer to my question.
    Which is: Is the enzyme and/or bacteria that the Leaf Footed Bug injected into my Tomatoes and
    Bell Peppers harmful to humans?

    I threw out all my Tomatoes because these guys were “IN MASS” mating all over my fruit, ripe or not. I’ve still got quite a few beautifully colored Bell Peppers that I’m in the process of harvesting right now. They got on the peppers after the tomatoes were gone, but not nearly so many, and I was very diligent about keeping them off. But, you know you can’t be everywhere all the time.
    I sure would like to reap something out of a whole years work–from seed, but I don’t want to
    poison my family.
    Any advice would be appreciated. I don’t see a place to post imagines, but Thank You

    Reply
  • These are Bamboo Coreid Bugs or Notobitus meleagris

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for your identification. We often request information on plants upon which insects are found, and we should have recognized the bamboo in the provided image. Searching with those key words, we located another member of the genus, Notobitus sexguttatus, in this FlickR posting.

      Reply
  • Shirley Ritchie
    May 18, 2015 5:38 pm

    how do you get rid of these things? They are all over my vegetables and my lemon tree.

    Reply
  • Marsha Lynn Walsh
    June 7, 2015 12:45 pm

    I found 3 small pearly looking eggs on my Dutchman’s Pipeline plant. Curiosity got me and I hatched them in a container. A day before they emerged , the eggs turned a beautiful golden color. I believe these bugs are Big legged Bugs or Leaf footed Bug. Thank you for your site. My bugs are red and very dainty at this time.

    Reply
  • We have a lot of pomegranate bushes and fruit. We just shoo them off when we harvest. I don’t see anything wrong that they are doing beside eating bitter skin that I am going to throw in the trash. Anyway, my question is why do they go inside of the fruit? My husband and I have a few theories.

    Reply
    • We have no experience with Leaf Footed Bugs entering the fruit, unless you are talking about fruit that splits open, which allows easier access to the succulent fruit.

      Reply
  • Helpful, thx.

    Reply
  • I have several of these crawling around the ceilings of my open-air front porch and attached carport. They never seem to bother my plants, and there are plenty to choose from, both in pots and in a flower bed right next to the front porch; but I don’t have any agave plants, or anything close to them. I do have milkweed, and I’ve seen Milkweed Assassin bugs from time to time on those particular plants; however, we witnessed a darker-colored Assassin bug sucking/eating the contents of a fairly new wasp nest. Is this common…are they all looking for wasp nests to devour?

    Reply
  • Upon further research, I have concluded that the bugs are not Assassin bugs, after all. They are the Leaf Footed (or Big Footed) bugs. However, I am still unable to figure out why they aren’t on any of my plants, and eating wasp larvae.

    Reply

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