Wheel Bug

Subject: this insects’ got back
Location: Dallas (East), Texas
June 26, 2012 8:13 am
Went for a late evening drive to get a cheeseburger with the windows down at the drive-in Dairyette (worth a trip to Dallas). When I got home and let the dog out there it was, right where you would reach to get the seatbelt on the passenger side. I moved it and took a few pictures. There is an amazing iridescent gold shield on its lower back and a daunting spiked ridge behind its neck. What species and is it male?
Signature: Dave

Wheel Bug

Hi Dave,
Though there is no dearth to the postings on our site devoted to the Wheel Bug (it is one of our Top 10 identification requests) we have decided to post your letter for two reasons.  First and foremost, we found your email totally entertaining and informative.  Second, we don’t get many adult Wheel Bug photos this early in the season.  Most recent examples have been immature nymphs that lack wings and the signature coglike “wheel” on the thorax.  Male and female Wheel Bugs look alike, though females are generally larger.  You should exercise caution when handling a Wheel Bug.  Though they are not aggressive towards humans, they are predators and they possess a piercing beak of a proboscis.  The bite is reported to be quite painful, though not dangerous.

2 thoughts on “Wheel Bug”

  1. i also found this prehistoric looking bug on my door step. my bug also has a red thingy hanging of his hind side. i was told anything with red like that it is poisonous. true or not i don’t know? that’s why i came in here to check it out. back in the end of june 2011 in columbus ohio. i had been playing with him to make him react and he/she really wasn’t interested or bothered by my playfulness. i had posted “what’s this bug” back in june of this year (2012). and received no replies. tonight i was just checking on my bug and found if not the same or very similar to it from u dave. i will post my bug again so that all can see. mine has a real pretty copper hinny area.

    • Thanks for your comment. For the record, our tiny staff often takes a holiday in June and while we are away from the office, mail frequently piles up unanswered. We try to respond to as many requests as possible, but we only have the capabilities to respond to a fraction of the requests we receive, and an even smaller percentage get posted live to the website. We are happy you were able to self identify your Wheel Bug. They are capable of biting, but we do not get as many reports of bites from Wheel Bugs as we do from other Assassin Bugs.


Leave a Comment