Thursday, July 12, 2007

One of the "good" guys

Here's a neat creature--posing so cooperatively for me on a gum tree leaf. He moves in slow motion--(which is wonderful for someone still learning to use the camera!) And as unfriendly as he appears, he seemed shy--more afraid of my long lens, than I of his long predatory beak.
He's a wheel bug, "one of the largest terrestrial true bugs in North America", about an inch and a half long, and among his favorite foods are Japanese Beetles.
He certainly must be having a good summer!
He's pretty interesting to look at up close--don't pick him up, though--nasty bite!! Reddish eyes, fine hairs on his legs, spiracles on the sides of his abdomen-- what are those tiny, shiny red dots behind his eyes? I'll have to find out!

Update: Ah ha! The wheel bug has a compound eye, with a simple eye (ocellus) behind it! Here's looking at you!

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Susan Gets Native said...

Any bug who eats Japanese beetles is a friend of mine.
But I wouldn't hug him or anything.

Body Soul Spirit said...

It looks as if it was formed out of steel. The "wheel" is very unique! Great pictures.

Jennifer said...

Oh my gosh... Someone who eats Japanese beetles??? Where can I get me some???

mon@rch said...

These guys look very neat looking! I love the armor going down the middle of their back!

Dorothy said...

I think I've seen one of these bugs. Now this may sound naieve, but I didn't realize bugs bit..(other than mosquitos or flies).
I'm going to have to educate myself more about bugs..this guy sounds like someone I'd like to know better. Any bug who eats Japanese beetles can't be all bad.

cestoady said...

This Godzilla of bugdom is awesome !! Maybe those red dots are directional signals he/she blinks when turning. I am intrigued by that prominent half -wheel crest -- what is it for ? courtship, heat dissipation, scare predators (birds ?) ?? -- fascinating !!

Dorothy: Some true bugs even prefer us for a meal -- bedbugs,for example. And some swallows can have bedbugs too.

Cathy said...

Oooowweee! I clicked on him and got a good gander at that mandible/biting mechanism. That is a truly remarkable picture. Your pictures are making me very impatient with the macro feature on my camera. (I could check the manual, but . . . )