Leaf Footed Bug: All You Need to Know in a Nutshell

folder_openHemiptera, Insecta
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The leaf-footed bug is a fascinating insect with distinctive features and behaviors. These plant-eating pests belong to the Coreidae family and are known for their unique leaf-like extensions on their hind legs. These interesting insects can be found in various gardens and landscapes, causing damage to fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

Leaf-footed bugs are known to have piercing-sucking mouthparts, which they use to feed on plant parts, particularly seeds. Their diet includes a variety of plants such as tomatoes, peaches, blueberries, beans, okra, and pecans. When they feed on fruits, they can cause visible damage like yellow hardened spots on tomatoes. Recognizing and managing these bugs is essential to protect your plants from harm.

Apart from their plant-feeding habits, these bugs are also known for their size and striking appearance. Ranging from 1/2 to 3/4 inch in length, some species display contrasting colors and patterns. Being good flyers, leaf-footed bugs can quickly spread within a garden or landscape. As gardeners and homeowners, knowing more about these insects can help in maintaining the health of your plants and garden.

Leaf Footed Bug Basics

Identification and Appearance

Leaf-footed bugs are medium to large-sized insects with unique hind legs that resemble small leaf-like enlargements, which is why they are named after them1. They belong to the family Coreidae2.

  • Shape: These bugs have a cylindrical body structure.
  • Wings: They have wings with a distinct white line across the back.
  • Antennae: Their antennae are lighter in color than the rest of the body.

Comparison Table

Coreidae Bug Shape Color
Adult Cylindrical body, leaf-like hind legs Brown, white line across wings
Nymph Similar to adults, but no leaf-like extensions Deep orange to light brown

Life Cycle

Bug nymphs are immature forms of leaf-footed bugs. They are similar in shape to the mature bugs1 but:

  • No hind leg extensions.
  • Their color ranges from deep orange to light brown.
  • They don’t have wings.

These bugs undergo several generations a year.

Habitat and Range

Leaf-footed bugs feed on a variety of plants, including:

  • Fruits.
  • Fruiting vegetables.
  • Nuts.
  • Ornamentals2.

They have piercing-sucking mouthparts, which enable them to feed on different plant parts, particularly seeds2. Some common plants they feed on are tomatoes, peaches, blueberries, beans, okra, and pecans3.

Damage and Impact

Effects on Garden Plants, Fruits, and Vegetables

Leaffooted bugs can cause significant damage to garden plants, fruits, and vegetables. These insects have piercing-sucking mouthparts, allowing them to feed on plant parts, particularly seeds1. Some common garden plants affected by these pests include:

  • Tomatoes4
  • Peaches4
  • Blueberries4
  • Beans4
  • Okra4
  • Pecans4

When leaffooted bugs feed on fruits like tomatoes, they create yellow, hardened spots4. In some cases, their feeding can lead to fruit deformity or early drop1.

Effects on Ornamental Plants and Trees

Besides causing damage to garden plants, fruits, and vegetables, leaffooted bugs also feed on ornamentals and are known to infest magnolias, palm trees, and pomegranates5. While the extent of damage may vary depending on the plant species, these pests can weaken the overall health of ornamental plants and trees2. Infestations can also lead to aesthetic damage, making the plants less attractive and potentially reducing their value.

Leaffooted Bugs Comparison Table:

Garden Plants & Fruits Ornamental Plants & Trees
Tomatoes4 Magnolias5
Peaches4 Palm Trees2
Blueberries4 Pomegranates2

Prevention and Management

Removal Methods

Leaf footed bug infestations can be managed by manual removal of both adults and nymphs from infested plants. Handpicking can be an effective method if done early in the spring when their populations are low. However, it can be time-consuming and is not suitable for large-scale infestations. For a quicker, non-toxic method to prevent bugs from reaching plants, row covers can be applied.

Natural Control Options

Several beneficial insects play an essential role in controlling leaf footed bug populations:

  • Assassin bugs: Known for their predatory behavior, they feed on various pest insects, including leaf footed bug nymphs.
  • Spiders: Arachnids are natural predators of many small insects, including leaf footed bugs.
  • Ladybugs: Effective in controlling aphids but may also prey on leaf footed bug eggs if other food sources are scarce.

Additionally, some birds and flies can contribute to reducing the pest population.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Implementing Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies can be an effective way to prevent and control leaf footed bug infestations. IPM includes:

  • Monitoring: Regularly inspect your plants for any signs of leaf footed bug infestation and pay attention to their life cycles.
  • Physical barriers: Use row covers or netting to protect vulnerable plants from invasions.
  • Biological control: Encourage beneficial insects by providing habitat and avoiding broad-spectrum insecticides.
  • Cultural practices: Maintain a healthy garden by pruning, weeding, and watering appropriately. This can discourage infestations.
  • Chemical control: Apply targeted insecticides such as neem oil only when necessary and follow label instructions for best results.

Pros and Cons of IPM:

Pros Cons
Eco-friendly approach Requires regular monitoring
Sustainable pest management May take longer to achieve results
Reduces pesticide use Can be labor-intensive

Chemical Treatment


There are several insecticides that can help control leaf-footed bugs. These include:

  • Pyrethroids: effective and commonly used but can kill beneficial insects
  • Neonicotinoids: often used as a soil drench or foliar spray
  • Carbamates: typically used sparingly due to their broad-spectrum nature

Some integrated pest management strategies recommend using selective insecticides over broad-spectrum ones to preserve beneficial insects.

Example: A gardener might choose a pyrethroid insecticide as their first option since it’s effective and widely available.

Insecticide Type Pros Cons
Pyrethroids Effective and commonly used Can kill beneficial insects
Neonicotinoids Available as soil drench or foliar spray Can harm bees and other pollinators
Carbamates Fast acting Broad-spectrum, sparingly used

Insecticidal Soap

Insecticidal soap is a safer alternative to traditional insecticides. It works by breaking down the bug’s exoskeleton, causing them to dehydrate and die.

  • It’s made from fatty acid salts and is biodegradable
  • Effective against leaf-footed bug nymphs

One downside is that insecticidal soap must come into direct contact with the pests to be effective. This means thorough coverage is required during application.

Example: An organic gardener might use insecticidal soap as part of their pest control strategy.


  • Eco-friendly and biodegradable
  • Targets leaf-footed bug nymphs


  • Must come into direct contact with pests
  • Thorough coverage required during application

Bug Control Recommendation Tool

What type of pest are you dealing with?

How severe is the infestation?

Do you require child/pet/garden safe treatments (organic)?

Are you willing to monitor and maintain the treatment yourself?

Overwintering and Environmental Factors

Shelter and Hiding Places

Leaffooted bugs overwinter by seeking shelters in various places, such as:

  • Woodpiles
  • Debris
  • Barns
  • Tree cracks
  • Peeling bark

These hiding places offer protection against harsh winter conditions. In some warmer states like California and Florida, they can be found in palm fronds as well.

Weather Conditions and Climate Impact

Leaffooted bugs are very much influenced by weather conditions. Mild winters can favor their survival, allowing them to lay over 200 eggs during a two-month period in the spring. In fall, they start looking for shelters to overwinter.

Climate impacts on leaffooted bugs:

  • Milder winters: Higher survival rates and population growth.
  • Harsher winters: Lower survival rates and decreased populations.

By understanding their overwintering habits and environmental factors, we can better manage these pests in our gardens and fields.

Additional Information

Disease Transmission and Fungal Yeast

Leaf-footed bugs, specifically those from the genus Leptoglossus, have piercing-sucking mouthparts which they use to feed on a variety of host plants, such as tomatoes, peaches, and blueberries. In the process, they can transmit fungal yeast, like the Eremothecium coryli, to their host plants. This fungal yeast utilizes the insect’s excrement and digestive enzymes to break down and grow on grains.

Some negative effects of these bugs include cosmetic damage to fruits and other plant parts. However, they also have natural enemies that help control their population, maintaining a balance in the ecosystem.

Unique Species Variants

There are several unique species variants within the leaf-footed bug family. One common characteristic is the flattened, leaf-shaped hind legs that give them their name. Additionally, many species have a distinctive white stripe across their wings, such as Leptoglossus phyllopus.

A comparison of two species includes:

Species A Species B
Leptoglossus phyllopus Leptoglossus oppositus
White stripe on wings Uniformly brown
Leaf-like hind legs Broad, brown hind legs

Some common features of leaf-footed bugs include:

  • Leaf-like extensions on hind legs
  • Piercing-sucking mouthparts
  • Various host plants
  • Transmission of fungal yeast

As they grow from nymphs to adulthood, these insects shed their exterior casing several times. This process, called molting, is crucial for their growth and development. In their nymph stage, they resemble the adult form but lack wings and the leaf-shaped hind legs. Once they reach adulthood, they develop wings and take on the distinct leaf-footed features.

Overall, while leaf-footed bugs can cause damage to plants and transmit diseases, they are a natural part of the ecosystem, and their population is kept in check by their natural predators.


In conclusion, the leaf-footed bug is a plant-eating insect found in various regions. They can be identified by their unique leaf-like extensions on their hind legs.

Leaf-footed bugs come in different colors, such as dark brown or orange. Their appearance may vary between species. To better understand the key features and characteristics of the leaf-footed bug, here are some bullet points:

  • Plant-eating insects
  • Leaf-like extensions on hind legs
  • Good flyers with noisy buzzing sounds
  • May give off bad odor when disturbed
  • Various colors and patterns

When discussing leaf-footed bugs, a comparison between two species can help showcase their differences. For example:

Magnolia Leaf-Footed Bug Eastern Leaf-Footed Bug
Dark brown color Brown or orange color
Lacks white stripe White line on wings
Found on magnolia trees Found on various plants

Remember, the leaf-footed bug is just one example of the many fascinating insects inhabiting our world.


  1. https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/care/pests-and-diseases/pests/leaffooted-insect-pests.html 2 3 4
  2. https://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74168.html 2 3 4 5 6
  3. https://durham.ces.ncsu.edu/2020/08/whats-that-bug-leaf-footed-bugs-in-the-garden/
  4. What’s That Bug? Leaf-Footed Bugs in the Garden 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
  5. Magnolia Leaf-Footed Bug – Penn State Extension 2

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 – Tip Wilter from South Africa


Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
October 22, 2010 7:47 am
I found this guy in my garden on a rose bush. There were two of them close to one another, I moved this one to get a pic and then when I wanted to return it (to it’s mate) it flew away. It was probably just over an inch in length.
Signature: Rudi

I just sent in a request earlier, but have found the answer.
The “orange antennae” is how I got to the identification.  Should probably add that key to my pic if you’d like to add it.
It is a leaf footed bug,
Arthropods (Arthropoda) » Insects (Insecta) » True Bugs, Cicadas, Hoppers, Aphids and Allies (Hemiptera) » True Bugs (Heteroptera) » Leaf-footed Bugs (Coreidae) » Acanthocephala

Tip Wilter

Hi Rudi,
True Bugs in the family Coreidae are often called Leaf Footed Bugs or Flag Footed Bugs, though a third common name, Big Legged Bug, seems most appropriate in your case.  Those thoracic protuberances are quite impressive.  We haven’t the time to research a species name at the moment, but there are some unmistakable similarities to the genus
Acanthocephala from North America, including the Acanthocephala confraterna pictured on BugGuide.  Just before hitting post, we did a quick search and found images of a Tip Wilter, Anoplocnemis curvipes, on the Biodiversity Explorer website that closely resembles your insect.
P.S.  We didn’t notice your second email until we began to research this posting.

Letter 2 – Immature Leaf Footed Bugs: Spartocera fusca


Subject:  Unidentified bugs
Geographic location of the bug:  Pinellas Park, Florida
Date: 05/12/2019
Time: 09:04 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found these on one plant in my garden, congregating as you see them in the photos. We had a torrential rainstorm, and they were still there the next day. I’m curious as to what they are.
How you want your letter signed:  Susan Heidicker Brown

Immature Leaf Footed Bugs: Spartocera fusca

Dear Susan,
These are immature Leaf Footed Bugs with no specific common name.  They are known only by the scientific name
Spartocera fusca.  We have but a single other posting of this species on our site, and that one was submitted 13 years ago.  Your submission is a catalyst for us to update that posting as it appears that the site where we originally identified it, BugGuide, no longer recognizes the name we researched in 2006, Corecoris fuscus, however, the comments dating back to 2005 use that original name.  Furthermore, our identification in 2006 was speculative as there were only images of adults pictured on BugGuide at that time, and our previous posting, like your submission, is of immature insects.  Your images are especially valuable to us as they depict several different instars representing the growth and changes the nymphs undergo as they approach maturity.  According to BugGuide:  “Breeds on Solanum americanum and other plants. Early instar nymphs are gregarious.

Immature Leaf Footed Bugs: Spartocera fusca

Letter 3 – Tip Wilters from South Africa


Subject: Weird insect infestation on one of my trees!
Location: Sandton, johannesburg
January 12, 2017 10:07 am
Hi there, one of my small trees in my garden is suddenly covered in millions of black insects varying in size from quite large ( about the size of a cricket) to really small. They appear to have hatched from a muddy nest in the bottom of my bird bath which sits under the tree.
They are really quite scary looking and there are literally hundreds of them just sitting on the branches all of the tree- just need to know if they are in any way dangerous ( to my children or the tree?)
Signature: Jen

Immature Tip Wilter

Dear Jen,
It seems you have multiple different instars or stages of Tip Wilters, True Bugs in the family Coreidae, most likely 
Carlisis wahlbergi based on research we have done in the past.  As their name implies, Tip Wilters cause worts to wilt after the insects use their piercing mouthparts to suck the fluids from the plants upon which they are feeding.  While it is possible that a large Tip Wilter might bite a child if it is carelessly handled, they are not considered dangerous.  The damage they do to the plants is another story, and large quantities of Tip Wilters, which you seem to have, may stunt the growth of your plants.

Immature Tip Wilters

Letter 4 – Immature Leaf Footed Bugs, in our opinion


Nymphs in a huddle on tomato plant
Location: 70119
May 9, 2011 1:51 pm
Hi there,
I’m in New Orleans and have asked a few gardener types to help identify this bug but some people think it’s the leaf footed stink bug, others say it’s the assassin bug. Will you please help me to identify it? 2 black dots on the back side & they like to be in a huddle.
Signature: Many thanks in advance, Jennifer

Immature Leaf Footed Bugs

Hi Jennifer,
Immature Hemipterans can be quite difficult to identify with any certainty, but we believe these are immature Leaf Footed Bugs in the genus
Leptoglossus.  They match this image on BugGuide.  As you can see from the BugGuide information page, there are several species possibilities in your vicinity.

Letter 5 – Western Leaf-Footed Bugs


Beetles Covering All My Junipers!
July 3, 2010
These bugs/beetles showed up a couple of days ago. They are covering almost all of the bush and they are on all of the junipers, but on the Pinon Pine trees. At first glance from a distance we thought they were bees,. They sometimes fly up a ways and hover around the juniper bush and then land again. I can’t see them actually eating on the leaves or berries. We seem to have two types of native junipers on the property. One has blueish berries, and the other doesn’t have berries and is more scraggly, I think they are both California Junipers.
Randy & Leilani
California High Desert Mountains

Western Leaf-Footed Bugs

Hi Randy and Leilani,
Your insect is one of the Leaf-Footed Bugs in the genus Leptoglossus.  We believe it is Leptoglossus clypealis based on information posted to BugGuide, which indicates:  “
A spine extending forwards from the tip of the nose (technically known as the tylus) distinguishes this species” though it is somewhat difficult to make out this physical feature in your photograph.  BugGuide does not provide a common name for the species, and the remarks include:  “Can be a pest in pistacio and almond orchards because it feeds on the nuts.”  If we turn to our print sources for information, there is a species called the Western Leaf-Footed Bug, Leptoglossus clypealus, mentioned by Charles Hogue in his wonderful book, Insects of the Los Angeles Basin.  We suspect that the two species are the same, but BugGuide does not list the Hogue spelling as an alternative.  Hogue writes:  “It is usually found on junipers in the more arid eastern portions of the basin.”  There is no indication in either Hogue or BugGuide as to what the insects feeds upon on the juniper.  It is our own experience that the Western Leaf-Footed Bug feeds on the fruit of pomegranates and tomatoes, causing unsightly bruising of the fruit because of the digestive enzymes that are injected into the fruit when the insect feeds with its piercing and sucking mouthparts.  According to the Illinois Natural History Survey website:  “Although it may occur in large numbers, this species is normally not a serious pest. It can, however, damage pistachio and almond seeds when populations are large.”  More information can be found on the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program website.

Western Leaf-Footed Bug


Letter 6 – Western Leaffooted Bug


Whats this bug?
My daughter found this bug walking down the side walk in Hemet California. Any idea what it is?
Joe Pendleton
Hemet, CA

Hi Joe,
This is a Western Leaffooted Bug, Leptoglossus clypealus. It is often found on junipers.

Letter 7 – Unnecessary Carnage: Leaffooted Bug Dispatched with a 2 half cans of Insecticide!!!


Flying Insect with Chubby Ankles
Location:  Richmond, Virginia
October 16, 2010 10:57 pm
This thing is about the size of a stinkbug, but it has what look like fleshy pouches on its two hind legs. It has a proboscis, and I don’t know what it eats.
It has wings and flies, but seems very resistant to Raid: Flying Insect Killer, and Raid: Ant & Roach Killer. I finally brought this thing down with about half a can of each. It didn’t die quickly, and twitched for about 15 minutes as I was drowning it in the spray.
I have nuked all entrances to my house with poison, yet these things seem to be the only things that still get in. Even spraying them directly doesn’t kill them quickly at all.
I’ve never seen them before I moved here, but have seen half a dozen of these things since I moved here about 2 months ago.
Please help!
Signature:  Raid Can’t Help Me

Leaffooted Bug: Dead after spraying with 2 half cans of insecticide!!!!!!!

Dear RCHM,
Rarely have we been so entirely horrified with a posting that we tag as Unnecessary Carnage.  Generally, we lament the dispatching of a single beneficial or benign creature that has been swatted or stomped, but your letter has taken the term Unnecessary Carnage to an entirely new level.  In your obsession to prevent a benign creature from entering your home, you have exposed yourself, your family, your pets, and the environment to poisons with potentially long term side affects that might not be fully understood.  We can’t help but to be reminded of the publicity stunt pulled by B.T. Collins during the aerial spraying of malathion in California in the early 1980s in a feebly unsuccessful attempt to control the spread of the Mediterranean Fruit Fly.  According to Time Magazine Online:  “B.T. Collins, 40, director of the California Conservation Corps, gave the most dramatic demonstration of its safety: he drank a glassful of Malathion diluted with water to the concentration used in the spray.
Malathion spraying failed to control the Mediterranean Fruit Fly, AKA The Med Fly, in the 1980s and your senseless spraying of insecticides will fail to keep insects from entering your home.  Please take the time to educate yourself about the wonderful natural world around you and to learn about the harmful effects of introducing unnecessary chemicals to the environment.  Your insect is a Leaf Footed Bug in the genus Leptoglossus, possibly the Western Conifer Seed Bug.  These harmless creatures often enter homes as the weather begins to cool so that they can hibernate during the cold winter months.  They will not harm you, your pets, your home or its furnishings.  If you find their presence offensive, simply remove them and please desist with the excessive use of poisons.

I must apologize for my actions that I now realize were unnecessary against the harmless Leaf-Footed Bugs that have gotten inside my house over the last few months. I was scared that they would be dangerous given their size and appearance, but now that I know what they are, I won’t be afraid of them any more. Because of the information you’ve given me, I won’t kill them any longer when I find them, I’ll simply brush them back outside.
Thank you!

You’re welcome.  In the interest of education, the indiscriminate use of pesticides might be very harmful to sensitive individuals as well as the environment.

Letter 8 – Passionvine Bug or Citron Bug from Philippines


Subject: Bug ID
Location: Manila, Philippines
August 8, 2014 1:18 am
Found the bug in the attached images in my yard in the Philippines. I would just like to know what it is so grateful for your help.
Signature: no preference

Citron Bug
Citron Bug

We began our research by locating a matching image on The Flying Kiwi where this Leaf Footed Bug in the family Coreidae is identified as a Citron Bug, Leptoglossus gonagra, from Viet Nam.  We located another matching image on Forestry Images.  Continued research revealed that the Citron Bug or Passionvine Bug is also represented on BugGuide which provides this information:  “a widespread neotropical sp. ranging into the Gulf states (FL-TX) & MO; also widespread in the tropical & subtropical regions of the Old World.”

Citron Bug
Citron Bug

Briliant Daniel, thanks for the speedy help.

Letter 9 – Probably Coreid Bug Hatchlings with Eggs


Aphids and egg-chain thingy
Hi Bugman,
I noticed that you didn’t have any pictures of aphids that matched the ones I found on my key lime tree in Austin, TX, so I thought I would send them along. They wouldn’t be very exciting, except I think the egg chain along the middle of the leaf is really neat. I try to avoid bug carnage where possible, but for the sake of my future margaritas and key lime pies, I did have to murder all of the aphids shortly after the photo shoot. I love your site and consult it frequently.

Hi Stephanie,
These are not Aphids, but Hemipterans. We originally thought they might be Assassin Bug Hatchlings and if that was the case, they are beneficial insects not to be destroyed. We sought Eric Eaton’s input and he wrote back: “I’m pretty sure that this is actually some kind of leaf-footed bug in the family Coreidae, but I can’t tell from such tiny hatchlings. Assassin bugs don’t lay eggs in a line, as far as I know. Not sure where the image was shot, but I know that there are some great resources on coreids from Florida educational websites. Eric” If Eric is correct, and we suspect he is, then these are plant feeders and you probably made the right move eliminating them from the tree.

Letter 10 – Immature Leaf Footed Bugs from Costa Rica (with some politics for spice)


From Costa Rica – what’s this bug?
I just spent a delightful 45 minutes reading through your website trying to locate the identity of this bug I photographed in Dominical, Costa Rica. I wanted to tell you that I was actually emotional at the tender, insightful, kind, enlightened and brilliant way you respond to your inquiries. I thought, “wow, how is it we can live in a country where someone can have these characteristics with regard to insects, yet we cannot seem to vote in politicians who have the same character with regard to humans?” I know, this is not a political site – but it is rare to come across people who are so thought-provoking and all around compelling. I learned a GREAT deal about insects and your insight actually gave me more reverence for them than I had ever considered having. I’m definitely terrified of arachnids, but I spent some time looking at your specimens and realized, actually, they ARE quite beautiful. So I’ll squash my spider-squashing tendencies from here on out. Amazing how a little humanity and decency on your part can make such simple change in so many others. Excellent work, thanks for cheering me up on a bit of a dreary day. and on to the bug. No information to give but that I found them in a primary rainforest area. Let me know if you can identify!
Natasha M.
Salt Lake city

Goodness Gracious Natasha,
We can’t help but respond to your letter. We try to keep our disdain for the current state of politics from bubbling to the surface on this website, but the bottom line is, our opinions continue to seethe. Though we vote in every election, national and local, hoping to make a difference, we have a long and solid history of not backing the winning candidate, especially in the most recent past. Lisa Anne’s more radical views can be found on our sister site, Steal This Sweater. Your insects are Coreid Bug Nymphs, also known as Leaf Footed Bugs. We are almost certain this is Thasus acutangulus or a very close relative.

Letter 11 – Immature Leaf Footed Bugs: genus Leptoglossus


Six legged reddish orange & black insect
July 23, 2009
I live in Southwest Louisiana. I have a small garden with cantaloupes in it. I have a bunch of nickle sized reddish orange & black six legged insects on the leaves. They don’t seem to be eating the leaves, but often are grouped together. I don’t know if they are doing good or harm, so I have not taken any action as far as pest control. I’ve looked all over the internet with no luck. Thank you for your help!
Amateur Gardner in LA
Southwest Louisiana

Leaf Bug Nymphs
Leaf Bug Nymphs

Dear Amateur Gardener,
After our initial short response (please don’t put us on blast for not giving you a complete response) we found a matching photo on BugGuide while researching information on Leptoglossus phyllopus, one of the Leaf Footed Bugs.  You live within the range map, so we believe you may have this species or a member of the genus.  Immature nymphs are often nearly impossible to properly identify unless they can be associated with the adults.
In quantities, these may damage some of your produce, especially if they begin to attack ripening tomatoes since they secrete a saliva that could damage the fruit.

Letter 12 – Not Red Bug, but Coreid Bug from Costa Rica


Possibly Dysdercus red bug from Costa Rica
March 31, 2010
Love this site. I just saw a pale red bug shown that bears some resemblance to a bug I’ve been trying to identify here in Costa Rica. I first saw my bug on a hibiscus, but later also on other plants. I couldn’t find it on Bug Guide. Can you help me?
Mary B. Thorman
Highlands of south Pacific area of Costa Rica at edge of forest.

Hypselonotus atratus

Hi Mary,
We did a cursory web search before we headed for the desert, and we drew a blank on this lovely Hemipteran.  We agree that is is likely a Red Bug in the family Pyrrhocoridae, but we would not discount that it might be a Seed Bug in the family Lygaeidae.  It sure looks like it might be a Cotton Stainer relative in the genus Dysdercus.  Hopefully, one of our readers will be able to assist in this identification.

Karl contributes some information
April 1, 2010
Hi Daniel:
Well I’m back from Costa Rica and I have quite a few hemipteran images of my own to identify, so I hope that mine are a little easier than this one. According to the Biologia Centrali-Americana this appears to be Hypselonotus atratus (compare to Figure 27). That would make it a Leaffooted Bug (Coreidae) which doesn’t seem quite right to me. Since this is a very old document (late 19th century) it is possible that it was taxonomically misplaced, but I was unable to find any information about a subsequent taxonomic reassignment, or any newer synonyms. The only other image of a similar bug that I could find was on Flickr, and this one too was tagged as H. atratus. So perhaps that’s it. If I find anything else as I go through my own identifications I will send an update. Regards.

Hi Karl,
Welcome back and thanks for the information, though we cannot believe this bug is in the family Coreidae.

Eric Eaton confirms original identification
Your ID is correct.  Family is Pyrrhocoridae.

Karl does more research
May 25, 2010
Re: Follow-up to Possibly Red Bug from Costa Rica – March 31, 2010
Hi Daniel:
I am still working my way through the numerous Hemiptera photos that I collected on my Costa Rica trip and it turns out I do have this very same bug in my own collection (photo attached – taken at Las Cruces Biological Station). Looking closely at my photo and the one that Mary posted I see that both individuals clearly have a pair of ocelli near the posterior margin of the head. Also, the veins in the forewings run parallel rather than being profusely branched as they should be in a Pyrrhocoridae. That means that it can not be a Pyrrhocoridae. Other similar ocelli-bearing families (Berytidae, Lygaeidae and Alydidae) can be eliminated based on other characteristics. Although I can not definitively eliminate Rhopalidae, since key features are not visible in either photo, I have not found any similar looking Rhopalidae. That leaves only Coreidae, and my inclination is to go with Hypselonotus atratus.  Regards.

Letter 13 – Red Eyed Vireo eats Leaf Footed Bug


red-eyed vireo with mouthful
Location:  West Bath, Maine coastal
September 24, 2010 10:57 am
Hi there, Would you kindly tell me what this Red-eyed vireo has captured for a meal? Thanks in advance for your time. I love your site and promote it every chance I get.
Signature:  Robin Robinson

Red Eyed Vireo eats Leaf Footed Bug

I think Assassin Bug. Yes? Thanks RRR

Hi Robin,
This insectivore has captured a Leaf Footed Bug in the genus
Leptoglossus, possibly the Western Conifer Seed Bug.

Letter 14 – True Bug from Peru: Possibly Big Legged Bug


Unknown bug from Peru
Location: Rio Pindayo, near Curimana, Ucayali, Peru
February 9, 2011 3:31 am
Can you please help with the identity of this bug found in central Peru?
Signature: Peter Bruce-Jones

Coreid Bug we believe

Hello again Peter,
Our first impression is that this is a member of the family Coreidae, the Big Legged Bugs or Leaf Footed Bugs, but we would not rule out that it is a member of another True Bug family.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide an identification.

Letter 15 – Probably Leaf Footed Bug Eggs


Unkown bug eggs
Location: NW Georgia
May 1, 2011 5:41 pm
I found these eggs on my onions. It’s late spring here and I have no idea what kind of bugs will hatch from them. I was hoping you could help. Thank you.
Signature: LDMS

Leaf Footed Bug Eggs

Dear LDMS,
These are the eggs of a Hemipteran, and often exact species identification of eggs is difficult.  We believe these eggs belong to a Leaf Footed Bug in the family Coreidae based on this image posted to BugGuide.

Letter 16 – Spot Sided Coreid Bug


Subject: What’s the bug?
Location: Richmond TX
March 12, 2013 3:01 pm
Hi I live in Richmond TX and I want to know what’s the bug? Good guy, bad guy.. trying to plant organic, so I need your help.
Signature: Simone

Spot Sided Coreid Bug
Spot Sided Coreid Bug

Dear Simone,
We thought this looked like a Leaf Footed Bug or Big Legged Bug in the family Coreidae, but it is not a species we recognized.  We quickly identified it on BugGuide as the Spot Sided Coreid Bug,
Hypselonotus punctiventris.  It represents a new species on our site, and that always excites us greatly.  According to Bugguide, it is:  “common in gardens” and this is clarified with “Nearly year round in Texas.”  Finally, BugGuide notes:  “Feeds on Mallows and a wide variety of other flower families.”  Though it is a plant feeding species, there is nothing to indicate that it is a pest species.  Our advice is that it it is not plentiful, and it is not feeding on something you value greatly and use as food, we would allow it to coexist in your organic garden.  This is a True Bug and they feed with their piercing mouthparts that are designed to draw fluids.  Many mallows are considered weeds, and it is entirely possible it is feeding on the weed mallows, in which case it is most likely not harming your cultivated plants.  Thank you again for providing us with a new species.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you so much for your answer! I couldn’t find anything similar at google lol.
I’ll send you other pictures with I find something unusual.
Thanks again

Letter 17 – Probably Leaf Footed Bug Nymph


Subject: Transormer bug?
Location: Auburn California
July 24, 2015 4:15 pm
Hi there,
I took pictures of these guys last year, and was on my patio and one seem to have got on my hand while sitting watching the sunrise. If you could let me know what it is that would be great, I was able to capture him and he is still in a glass in my kitchen bay window.
Signature: Stewart

Immature Coreid Bug
Immature Coreid Bug

Dear Stewart,
This is an immature Hemipteran, and nymphs can be difficult to identify.  Our guess is that it is the nymph of a Leaf Footed Bug in the family Coreidae.

Letter 18 – Immature Leaf Footed Bugs


Subject: Weird bug
Location: Houston Texas USA
June 23, 2016 5:47 pm
These bugs have been hanging around my cucumbers. What are they are they friendly or foe?
Signature: Lam

Immature Leaf Footed Bugs
Immature Leaf Footed Bugs

Dear Lam,
We are confident that these immature Leaf Footed Bugs are in the genus
Leptoglossus based on this BugGuide image, and several members of the genus are found in Texas.  They can be difficult to tell apart at this young age.  According to BugGuide:  “some [species] are extremely polyphagous” meaning they feed on a large number of plant species, and “most of our spp. are considered economically damaging [to plants]”.  In short, this is not a beneficial species on your cucumber plants. 

Thank you.  The adult looks like what we call a stink bug.

Stink Bugs and Leaf Footed Bugs are both True Bugs, but they are different families.

Letter 19 – Immature Leaf Footed Bugs on Tomatoes


Subject: Bug found on my tomato plants
Location: Fayetteville, Texas
August 5, 2017 11:26 am
I have had them a few times this summer. Are they harmful,or are they beneficial?
Thanks for any help…
Signature: sneezles

Immature Leaf Footed Bugs

Dear sneezles,
These immature Leaf Footed Bugs in the genus
Leptoglossus feed by using their piercing mouthparts to suck fluids from plants, so they are not beneficial to your tomato productions.

Letter 20 – Immature Leaf Footed Bugs


Subject: Bugs
Location: Crystal River Fl Central Florida E coast
August 12, 2017 2:18 pm
Hello Sir,
If you could let me know exactly what this bug is called it would be great. Thanks so much
Signature: Michelle Smith

Immature Leaf Footed Bugs

Dear Michelle,
These are immature Leaf Footed Bugs in the genus
Leptoglossus, and we found a nice page on them on the Citrus Pests site where it states:  “The genus Leptoglossus is polyphagous and attacks many weeds as well as economically-important crops.”  Bugs in this genus will feed on a wide variety of plants, many found in the vegetable garden or flower garden, and since they use their specially evolved mouthparts to pierce and suck fluids, they can severely damage tender plant shoots.  Based on the BugGuide information that “Two yellowish spots on the forward part of the pronotum are distinctive”, we are confident your individuals are Leptoglossus zonatus., a species that “may damage a wide variety of crops but is considered rare and of little economic importance.”  Here is a BugGuide image.

Letter 21 – Immature Leaf Footed Bugs


Subject:  What’s this
Geographic location of the bug:  South Louisiana
Date: 10/06/2017
Time: 08:06 PM EDT
Can someone tell me what this is . Show up on a  Tabasco pepper plant today
How you want your letter signed:  Ricky

Immature Leaf Footed Bugs

Dear Ricky,
These are plant-feeding, immature Leaf Footed Bugs in the family Coreidae, probably the genus
Leptoglossus.  According to BugGuide:  “most of our spp. are considered economically damaging” to agricultural and garden plants.

Letter 22 – Why are the immature Leaf Footed Bugs acting strangely on the Woody Plant???


Subject:  What are these Assassin Bug nymphs doing?
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 04/20/2018
Time: 04:20 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  That’s definitive, but what are they doing rolling around those sacks, and some of the sacks have been hung up?
Thanks for identifying.
How do you want your letter signed:  Mel Frank

Immature Leaf Footed Bugs with “Pod”

Ed. Note:  We met recently with noted author Mel Frank (see Amazon) and we correctly identified what he thought were Assassin Bug nymphs found on Cannabis as Leaf Footed Bug nymphs, probably in the genus Leptoglossus, based on BugGuide images as well as images from our own archives, and he wrote back wondering about this unusual activity.

“Pods” hung by immature Leaf Footed Bugs

Hi again Mel,
As we stated earlier, these Leaf Footed Bug nymphs are phytophagous, meaning they feed on plants.  Like other members of the True Bug suborder Heteroptera, they have mouths designed to pierce and suck fluids, and members of this genus are frequently found on plants like tomatoes, pomegranate and citrus, and they damage fruit.  BugGuide notes:  “some are extremely polyphagous” indicating that they will feed from many types of plants.  Some typically plant feeding True Bugs are known to feed on dead and dying insects, including members of their own species, but that is opportunistic behavior and not true predatory behavior.  What you witnessed and observed over time, the nymphs “rolling around those sacks” and then hanging them up, sounds like the behavior of a predator storing food the way spiders wrap up prey with silk.  We wonder, perhaps, if while feeding by sucking the fluids from your
Cannabis, these Leaf Footed Bugs ingested cannabinoids resulting in altered “mindbending” behavior similar to experiments on a Spider’s ability to spin a web after exposure to drugs (see Priceonomics).  We have not clue at this time exactly what is in that sack these nymphs were rolling around, or why they were rolling them around and hanging them up.  It is a mystery.  We will contact Eric Eaton to see if he knows anything about this type of behavior in Leaf Footed Bugs from the family Coreidae.  We can’t help but be reminded of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and the aliens using pods to generate simulacra of humans. 

Update April 25, 2018:  Eric Eaton provides information.
So the plant they are on is marijuana?  In any event, yes, these are Leptoglossus nymphs, which typically feed on seeds or seed pods, and that is what the “sacs” are.  I’m a bit perplexed by the “webbing” around them.  The nymphs may be maneuvering the seeds to find a good place to pierce them so they can suck out the juicy contents.
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America

The mystery is the sacs. The only plant nearby was the pomegranate tree with lots of pomegranates. Also, some of the sacs have been hung.
Thanks for clearing this up.

Pomegranate is one of the primary host plants for Leaf Footed Bugs in the Los Angeles area.  You frequently find numerous individuals feeding on a single pomegranate.  The “sacs” look somewhat like unripe pomegranate seeds.
Update:  August 25, 2018
Daniel: You told me that these are leaf-footed bug. I’ve found near identical images online that id them as leaf-footed, but also have found images that are identified as assassin bug nymphs.

What makes me think these might be assassin bugs is the “sacks” that were hung nearby and that the bugs were involved with them.
Anyway, I am not the only one confused as clearly people are identifying them as one or the other and I can’t see the differences in the images that are posted.

Mel Frank

Mystery of Leaf Footed Bugs with “pods”
Hi again Mel,
We are sticking with immature Leaf Footed Bugs, probably genus Leptoglossus.  Can you please provide the links?

Letter 23 – Red Footed Cannibalfly eats Leaf Footed Bug


Subject:  Robber Fly Identification
Geographic location of the bug:  Elkridge, MD
Date: 08/11/2018
Time: 01:37 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Yesterday, I found a robber fly on the bush outside my house.  I’ve never had the opportunity to see one so close, especially while it had found a meal!  I’ve been trying to identify what species of robber fly this might be.  I think it might be a Red-footed Cannibalfly, but I’m not sure.   I’d love some help confirming the species of both the robber fly and its dinner!  Thanks!
How you want your letter signed:  Renee

Red Footed Cannibalfly eats Leaf Footed Bug

Dear Renee,
We agree that this Robber Fly is a Red Footed Cannibalfly, or at least another member of the genus
Promachus, the Giant Robber Flies.  The prey is a Leaf Footed Bug in the genus Leptoglossus, and the light tips on the antennae lead us to believe it is likely Leptoglossus oppositus which is pictured on BugGuide, or possibly Leptoglossus fulvicornis, which is also pictured on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide, the latter feeds on “Magnolia fruit” and the former “can be very common on catalpa pods” according to BugGuide.  Alas, other diagnostic features for the Leaf Footed Bug are obscured by the Red Footed Cannibalfly.  Do you have either a magnolia or a catalpa nearby or another camera angle that shows more of the Leaf Footed Bug? 

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my email!  Unfortunately, the only other picture I took was not clear.  I know there are Southern Magnolia trees in the neighborhood.  I don’t think I’ve seen any catalpa in the immediate neighborhood, but we do have them here in Maryland as well.  Just a few days after my first sighting of the Red Footed Cannibalfly, one appeared on the edge of my window that I had the chance to watch again!
Thanks again!

Letter 24 – Leaf-Footed Bug


Orange Bug – now BIG black bug
I had emailed a few weeks ago about some small orangish bugs with black dots along it’s tail end — you had suggested they might be asassin bugs…..NOW – – I just got back from vacation and found these bad boys on my tomato plants….no more of the small orange ones….I think they grew up…and they fly now…. > I watched them a bit this morning and they seem to be “secreting” some clear fluids from their tails….. Do I kill these things or leave them?
Robyn McRae

Hi Robyn,
You have Leaf-Footed Bugs, Leptoglossus phyllopus, from the Coreid Bug group. It is a widespread and conspicuous minor pest of many kinds of crops including fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and ornamentals. This includes tomatoes. Here is a page with more information.

Letter 25 – Leaf-Footed Bug


beetle on pomegranate tree
My pomegranate tree boasts a healthy population of these bugs, and I’ve also seen them flying around the yard and landing on the citrus and sycamore trees. I’d like to know exactly what it is. I live in Orange County in southern California. The bugs are about an inch and a half long. Can you help?
Jennifer Charlton

Hi Jennifer,
This is a Leaf-Footed Bug, Leptoglossus zonatus. We have seen them on pomegranates in Los Angeles. They use their sucking mouthparts to withdraw fluids from the pomegranates, spoiling sections of the fruit with their digestive enzymes. They also are found on tomatoes.

Letter 26 – Leaf-Footed Bug


SC stink bug
Hi Bugpeople!
I saw this stinkbug sticking to my motorcycle cover the other day (West Columbia, SC). I didn’t see him on your site and figured you might want the picture for reference. I notice it has something hanging on his right rear leg, maybe an egg-sac. thanks for the great site,

Hi Derwood,
This isn’t a Stink Bug. It is a Coreid Bug. Coreid Bugs are commonly called Leaf-Footed Bugs or Big Legged Bugs. That is not an eggsac, but the physiogamy of the insect. We believe your specimen is in the genus Acanthocephala.

Letter 27 – Leaf-Footed Bug: Acanthocephala species


What is this bug?
Saw a bunch of these in Bushkill, PA. What is it?

Hi Sarah,
This is one of the Coreid Bugs or Big Legged Bugs or Leaf Footed Bugs. More specifically, it is an Acanthocephala species, probably confraterna. Eric Eaton believes it might be Acanthocephala terminatus.

Letter 28 – Leaf-Footed Bugs


I have been finding these bugs on my Desert Willow tree and don’t know if they are something I should try to get rid of, or fear! What are they?

Hi Lorri,
These are Leaf-Footed Bugs or Coreid Bugs in the genus Leptoglossus. You did not provide us with a location, so we are leery of giving a species identification. They suck plant juices.

Letter 29 – Leaf-Footed Bugs


What are these bugs?
We were wondering if you could tell us what type of bugs are on our tomato plants? Thanks,
Fred & Rosemary Miller
Nederland, TX

Hi Fred and Rosemary,
These are some species of Coreid Bug, commonly known as Leaf-Footed or Big Legged Bugs. We believe it is some species in the genus Leptoglossus, but cannot find a species match. We will check with Eric Eaton and try to get an exact species.

Letter 30 – Possibly Rhombic Leatherbug Nymphs in the UK


Subject: Mysterious True Bug
Location: Woodbridge Suffolk UK
July 31, 2017 11:53 am
Found by a friend near a river in Suffolk UK.
It seems to be a true bug, but the spiny back is confusing identification.
Can you help?
Signature: Graham

Rhombic Leatherbug Nymphs, we believe

Dear Graham,
These are immature True Bugs in the family Coreidae, commonly called Leaf Footed Bugs or Squash Bugs.  British Bugs has some excellent images, and we believe based on the images on British Bugs, that these are immature Rhombic Leatherbugs,
Syromastus rhombeus.

Thanks Daniel, three of us failed to find that, don’t think I have seen one before.

Letter 31 – Tipwilter Nymphs from South Africa: Carlisis wahlbergi


Subject: unknown bug
Location: johannesburg South Africa
January 9, 2014 7:10 am
hi there
We live in Johannesburg South Africa and came across the following bug on our plants.
These bugs are in big groups only on 1 plant.
can you identify the bug, are they harmful and how can we get rid of them
Signature: Thank you in advance

Tipwilter Nymphs
Tipwilter Nymphs: Carlisis wahlbergi

Dear Erica,
Thanks to ISpot, we quickly identified your Heteropterans as Tipwilters,
Carlisis wahlbergi, also known as Giant Twig Wilters, and they are immature nymphs.  They will eventually become winged adults.  ElMuseumScience also has some nice images.  Tipwilters suck nutrients from plants, and if they are common, they can significantly damage young shoots and twigs on the host plant.  Gardenia seems to be a preferred host plant.  We do not provide extermination advice.

Tipwilter Nymphs
Tipwilter Nymphs

Hi there,
Thank you for the below information which was very usefull.

Letter 32 – Newly Hatched True Bugs


Subject:  Pseudoscorpions?
Geographic location of the bug:  Spring Branch, Texas
Date: 06/19/2021
Time: 06:09 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found a large congregation of these on a beach towel hanging outside the house, around an eggsac and some tubular structures.  6/19/2021 4:30pm 90deg F
How you want your letter signed:  John Hamrick

Newly Hatched Leaf Footed Bugs

Dear John,
These are not Pseudoscorpions.  They are newly hatched True Bugs.  The empty egg cases can be seen at the edge of the tape measure.  We suspect they are in the family Coreidae, the Leaf Footed Bugs or Big Legged Bugs.  Our Brazilian colleague Cesar Crash believes they are Assassin Bugs.

Letter 33 – Western Leaf-Footed Bug


Found these all over our Juniper bushes and I have scoured this site for them. What are they and are they a pest or help in the garden? This guy without his/her antennae is about the size of nickel or so. Lots of young on the bushes too. The hind legs are kind of leaf-like.
Adam W.

Hi Adam,
Scour on down to the True Bugs pages. Just for fun, we tried the search engine, typing in your most obvious words: “juniper, legs, leaf-like” and sure enough we were led to the correct page. This is a Western Leaf-Footed Bug, Leptoglossus clypealus, which is found on juniper. They use their sucking mouthparts to draw fluids from the plants.

Letter 34 – Western Leaf-Footed Bug


I thought I better ask befor touching it!
Hi guys!
It’s been a while since I’ve sent you any pictures, partly because I know just about every bug I see now due to you wonderful website! With that said, every once an awhile I come across a bug I have never seen before, or I can’t identify off of your website which is very rare. I submit to you this little beetle I found perching upon the side of my RV. At first glance, I thought it was one of those “kissing bugs” (please fill in the correct name) and I know those can bite hard. My son said, “Don’t touch it dad!” So I headed the wise words of my six year old and took a picture of it instead. Hope you can give this guy a name for us. Until next time!
Mike, Ryan & Jack
So. Cal

Hi Mike, Ryan and Jack,
This is a Western Leaf-Footed Bug, Leptoglossus clypealus. It is often found on junipers, but we have found them sucking the juices from pomegranates and know people who get them on tomatoes.

Letter 35 – Western Leaf-Footed Bug


Western Conifer Seed Bug?
Found this neat bug on my doorway on night of 11/6/06. Next morning it was on an electrical cord in my kitchen (about 2′ away). It moves very slowly like a chameleon and it didn’t seem bothered by my close inspections or having its picture taken (about 10 times) until I started using the flash mode. Then it slowly moved away. Offered it the Monterey Cypress bark with a pine nut after going to your site & the “more about” link. That’s what it’s on in the photo, in my kitchen in Aptos, CA. It didn’t seem interested in the pine nut though. Assuming this is a Western Conifer Seed Bug, I’m puzzled about 2 things I read on the link… 1. The weather has been unusually warm (70F/day, 55F/night). Isn’t it a bit premature for it to look for an overwinter place? Maybe it knows what’s ahead weather-wise. 2. Don’t understand why anyone would be annoyed by this wonderful bug. I think it would make a good pet. You said you had only 2 photos — here’s #3.Download this as a file Thanks for your great site! First time I visited it (quite awhile ago) I was amazed to find the monster I saw in our swimming pool in Lake Forest, IL, circa 1963. I was a little kid and I ran into our house, screaming for my mom & dad and locking all the doors and windows. Told them not to go outside — “there’s a monster out there!” Never saw it again (fortunately) til my visit to your web site. Had a good laugh when I found out the monster’s gigantic “stinger” was in reality an ovipositor. The monster was a Pigeon Horntail.

Hi Sharon,
We actually believe this is a closely related species to the Western Conifer Seed Bug, Leptoglossus occidentalis. We think it is the Western Leaf-Footed Bug, Leptoglossus clypealus. According to BugGuide: ” A spine extending forwards from the tip of the nose (technically known as the clypeus) distinguishes this species” and though your photo is a bit blurry, it appears to have this clypeus. Thank you for your nice letter.

Hi, Thanks for your reply and what a treat to find my letter & photo on your site! Told a bunch of my friends to go see it — they thought your site was great too. Read your info about Western Leaf-footed Bugs; your site is the only one in my internet history that has had the answers to all my questions. So hats off to you folks; keep up the good work!
Update: At my husband’s request I moved the bug from our kitchen to the garage. When I found out its food was juniper, I went to put it on the juniper in our front yard. I found the poor creature in a spider web (black widow, I think). Fortunately the spider hadn’t gotten to it yet. Hope the bug is happy in the juniper and will stay out of trouble there. By the way, temperature dropped to 41F last night and a storm is coming in tomorrow, so my WLF Bug is indeed a good weather forecaster.


  • 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.

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  • 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.

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