Savoring the Season
So Long, October

Wheel Bug

Assassin bug-1

Where have you been all my life?

Not that I want you...but how have I lived 62 years in Indiana and just met you for the first time?  I may not spend a lot of time outside now, but as a child I literally lived outdoors during every moment of daylight, and I thought I'd investigated and handled and played with harassed every bug out there.

Apparently not.

My sister Barb spotted this big bug (like 1.5"-long big) on the back step of Mama's farmhouse.  I captured it in a jar, excited to show this strange and unusual creature to my grandkids.  Yeah, I'm a weird grandma like that... As soon as I got home, I did some quick research on this entomological specimen, and here's what I found (just in case other inquiring minds want to know too...)

The wheel bug (from the gear-shaped armor it has on its back) is a type of assassin bug--so named because it kills and eats other bugs.  See that long protrusion coming from its mouth?  That is a sharp beak that the wheel bug uses to pierce its prey and inject a lethal saliva into the bug which liquified its insides so the wheel bug can suck them out and eat them.  Yum.

That sharp beak can also deal a painful bite to humans, so handling these critters is definitely not advised.  Thankfully they are not aggressive bugs and prefer to eat flies and caterpillars over humans.

 

Assassin bug-1

So there you have it.  All you never wanted to know about this strange big insect.

Oh, and by the way...my grandchildren were not impressed.  They took me outside where, at first glance, I saw no less than 4 of this same species hanging out on their front porch.  What???!!!

How come in 62 years I've never seen one (nor has my 59-year-old sister)?  Crazy.  Just CRAZY.

Wheel bug.

 

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