Leaffooted Bug

Leaffooted Bug (Leptoglossus phyllopus), taken at GTM Reserve, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, April 2021
Leaffooted Bug (Leptoglossus phyllopus), taken at GTM Reserve, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, April 2021

I mistook this insect for a type of Assassin Bug, which has a potent sting. For this reason, I used a telephoto setting to photograph this penny-sized insect, and then enlarged the photo using photo-editing software.

It is actually a Leaffooted Bug (Leptoglossus phyllopus), which gets its name from its flattened back legs. The males use their widened legs to wrestle one another.

I noticed it crawling on a thistle, which is its preferred food. In gardens, this sap-sucker is considered a minor pest. However, large infestations can devastate a citrus or pecan crop.

Leaffooted Bugs are found across the southern United States, as well as Mexico, Guatemala, and Costa Rica.

They don’t bite or sting, but be forewarned. They give off a strong, noxious odor when threatened.


REFERENCES
UF/IFAS University of Florida, Featured Creatures, Entomology and Nematology, http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/orn/leaffooted_bug.htm
Insectidentifican.org, https://www.insectidentification.org/insect-description.php?identification=Eastern-Leaf-Footed-Bug
Photograph (c) Carol Fullerton-Samsel 2021

Published by cafsamsel

Carol Fullerton-Samsel is a nearly-native Floridian who lives with her husband of 25 years and three rescue animals. She is a [mostly] vegan, alcohol-free, [relatively] caffeine-free, Buddhist writer and day-hiker. Her novel, The Clones of Langston, was a Reader’s Favorite medalist and a New Century Writer Awards finalist. It tells the story of cloned workers who are abandoned to form their own society. As the facility housing them erodes, they discover a challenging new world—our own.

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