Wheel Bug

Subject: Slow peanut-shaped insect
Location: Georgia, USA
November 4, 2015 11:52 am
Hey Bugman,
I am curious to know what kind of bug this is. I have researched online and cannot find anything similar looking. It is early fall in Athens Georgia, we are in a wooded residential area. It is about the size of a half dollar including leg span, maybe a little smaller. But definitely larger than a quarter. There is a ridge on its upper back between its top two legs.
Thanks for your time!
Signature: -Intrigued in GA

Wheel Bug
Wheel Bug

Dear Intrigued in GA,
This Wheel Bug is the largest North American Assassin Bug, a family of predators.  The slow movement is characteristic of the hunting style of the Wheel Bug, but they are beneficial predators.  Many species of Assassin Bugs will readily bite humans if carelessly handled, but we cannot recall a single report in more than 15 years of a Wheel Bug biting a human, even though Wheel Bug identifications are among the Top 10 identification requests to our site.  We believe the cog-like ridge you cited prevents Wheel Bugs from being easily swallowed by other, larger predators like birds.

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