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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