No, Paul isn't sitting out in my patch of overgrown tomatoes. This little snout-sniper is of the insect variety and if you've got him in your yard, you should be grateful:
Isn't that one of the freakiest bugs you've ever seen?
(BTW, on an entirely different note, there's a cow somewhere in the local listening area that is very, very unhappy and has been vocalizing it's discontent since 5:20 this morning. Just thought I'd let ya all know.)
The Wheel Bug is one of several types of "Assassin Bugs", so-called for their knack of ambushing and killing of other bugs with it's long, pointy, scary-looking, stab-you-through-the-exoskeleton mouthpart. They spear their prey by thrusting out their rostrum (the sharp, pointy, scary-looking thing) and pierce the bodies of their lunch, usually caterpillars, beetle larva/adults, and other soft bodied insects that you'd rather not have munching on your garden plants. After injecting a concoction of tissue melting spit into it's victim, the wheel bug sucks it all back up through the rostrum, tips the waitress, and moves on to find another meal.
|Close-up of the Wheel Bug rostrum.|
Watch where you're pointing that thing, buddy!!
Think that's as gross as it gets? If only.
When a wheel bug is threatened, and it doesn't manage to jab you with it's mouth-bayonet, then it will push out two bright orange, stinky scent sacks from it's anus. I've seen this before. I almost gagged. Not from the stench (as I didn't really smell anything), but just the surprise of something so freakish looking doing yet another freakish thing with it's bunghole.
After all this being said, I do have to say that under normal circumstances, the Wheel Bug is pretty non-confrontational. They can fly, although not very well (as if all that wasn't bad enough, now you have to worry about it flying at you) and I have yet to be attacked / buzzed at / speared by or otherwise molested by one of these bugs, so they are welcome here.
Can you find a place in your heart to let this Garden Assassin live in your back yard? I hope so :)