Milkweed and Monarch Butterfly Mania

Large Predator

While photographing caterpillars for the measuring project, I came across this enormous grey bug. Compared to the caterpillar it seemed huge. It was about 4 or 5 centimeters long. There was a hump on its back. It had a long beak.

I was curious about this insect. I did not recall ever seeing one. I had a feeling it was about to attack the caterpillar. I searched the Internet for "caterpillar predators". My mystery was quickly solved.This insect is called a Wheel Bug Arilus cristatus.

It is a member of the Reduviidae--the Assassin Bug Family. Classification: Kingdom - Animalia (animals), Phylum - Arthropoda (arthropods), Class - Insecta (insects), Order - Hemiptera (true bugs), Suborder - Heteroptera, Family - Reduviidae.

Wheel Bugs prey on other insects. They inject an enzyme into their prey. It turns the victim's insides to juice. The Assassin bug sucks the juice out. UGH! This is not a good sign for the monarch caterpillar.

Assassin bugs will bite people. They are a member of the bed bug insect family. Their bite can be very painful. I used my metric ruler to sweep it off the milkweed plant.

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Assassin bug next to caterpillar

Wheel bug facts


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