Wheel Bug (Arilus cristatus)


Adaptations and Modifications


One of the most noticeable traits the Wheel Bug has is its extraordinary long and well developed beak. The assassin bug family, Reduviidae, in which the A. cristatus  belongs to is characterized by their three segmented piercing proboscis that literally cleans out their unlucky prey. They inject an enzyme in which paralyzes their prey within 30 seconds and dissolves the prey's insides and internal organs.

Another noticeable characteristic of the Wheel Bug is its coloration. The Wheel Bug is heavily reliant on its camouflaged exoskeleton being that it is a fairly large insect ranging from 1 inch to 1.25 inches long. It's camouflaged exoskeleton is a dark grey to brown combination which perfectly suites it's tree and shrub dwelling habitat.

The Wheel Bug most characterizing trait, the cog-like structure on its back which gives A. cristatus its common household name, has an unknown function. The cog-like structure has an unknown use, although there are multiple hypotheses for its function. Some include that it might be used as a species recognition since both male and females have this feature. Another hypothesis is the teeth like protrusions may make the Wheel Bug uncomfortable or painful for predators to consume it.


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