Immature Wheel Bug

Spider? Stink Bug?
Location: South Florida. Pompano/Margate area
March 12, 2011 6:37 pm
This little critter kept coming to visit a photography class we were having. It looked like a spider, except for the rear end, which was held up like a scorpion holds it’s stinger. One of the staff at the park told us this was a stink bug, but I don’t really see a shield shape.
Thanks for any help you can give me in identifying it.
This one was located in Pompano Florida at Fern Forrest Nature Center.
Signature: Anne

Wheel Bug Nymph

Hi Anne,
This is an immature Wheel Bug,
Arilus cristatus, and when it is fully grown, it is North America’s largest Assassin Bug.  When fully grown, it is easily distinguished from any other Assassin Bug by a coglike projection on the thorax.  You can find numerous images of adult Wheel Bugs on our website, including this example dating back to October 2009.  Wheel Bugs and Stink Bugs are both True Bugs in the suborder Heteroptera, so your observation has merit.  Additionally, Wheel Bug hatchlings, like this grouping sent this past January, are frequently mistaken for Spiders.  Wheel Bugs are one of our Top 10 identification requests, though upon viewing that tag, we realize that we have not added any new images of Wheel Bugs in years.

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