Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Second Look Update--Wheel Bugs

Yesterday in my Second Look post, I had a picture of a bug that was unidentified. Since then, I've had time to do a bit of research and come up with information on it. The strange looking bug (aren't they all strange looking?) was a wheel bug. The wheel bug is a cousin of the stink bug and is the largest of the bugs. It is named for the round spiny ridge near its head which some say makes it looks like a stegosaurus. The wheel bug injects venom into its prey and eats them from the inside out. Its bite can take a long time to heal. (I'm glad I didn't know that when I encountered it.) They are common in eastern North America, but aren't seen much because of their camouflage capabilities and shyness. Also wheel bugs are considered beneficial bugs because they feed mostly on caterpillars and other soft bugs that defoliate plants.

Now here's the most interesting thing I learned--what a bug is. I thought I knew what bug meant. It meant any creapy crawly that wasn't necessarily an insect. A broad generic term. Wrong. It turns out that bug has a specific entomological definition. It is an order of insects that has mouth parts that pierce and suck. (BTW, we call a lot of things bugs that aren't true bugs like lightening bugs.)

Well, how about that? You do learn something new everyday. I can't wait to see how I can work this newly learned information into my next conversation. :)

Want to know more?