Now Megan and I now live in the middle of suburbia, less than a mile from that very same river, yet things are quite different. Preparing for a baby, trying to attract birds to our yard, removing wall paper and painting, and setting up a house to be the way we want it- all these things-have sucked up my time. And I'm fine with that. I just have to come up with new and creative ways to find nature around my new settings. And I have, however, many of these findings never made it here because I've been fully enveloped in the joys of home ownership.
Slowly but surely, the neighbors are getting to know us. And maybe they think I'm a little weird having my camera out all the time, but I have built up a reputation, at least to one person, that I like bugs. Megan and I were greeted with this plastic container lying in our mum urn in early November.
What the heck was this?
As I glanced through the plastic, the huge bug came into focus. Ah ha, I thought to myself, a "wheel bug". Our neighbor Nancy must have placed the jar on our porch. The previously summer, while I was outside taking pictures of moths on the lamp post, she had stopped me and wondered what the heck I was doing. She told me about a really big weird looking bug, and I suggested to her that it might be a wheel bug. Who knows if what she actually saw was a wheel bug, but what she had captured and placed into this plastic container was most definitely the creature I had described to her. I was excited- Megan and I had seen a wheel bug two years prior during one of our trips to Slate Run Metropark, but back then, I hadn't yet bought the Canon efs 60 mm macro lens. I was excited to take the bug out of the jar, carefully I might add, ensuring I didn't receive its nasty and painful bite.
Way back at Slate Run, I wasn't careful. I fortunately was not bit, but supposedly the bite is quite painful. Wikipedia does a great job summarizing the biology of wheel bug:
"The Wheel bug (Arilus cristatus), in the family Reduviidae, is one of the largest terrestrial true bugs in North America, being up to 1 1/2 inches, or 38 mm, in length; it is the only member of its genus. A characteristic structure is the wheel-shaped pronotal armour. They are predators upon soft-bodied insects such as caterpillars, japanese beetles, etc., which they pierce with their beak and inject salivary fluids that dissolve soft tissue. Because most of their prey are pests, wheel bugs are considered beneficial insects, although they can inflict a painful bite if handled carelessly."
I wasn't going to be careless this time. This is a fascinating creature, I couldn't help taking numerous pictures from about every angle that I could get a shot.
Doesn't that red piercing mouth part look formidable? I'm just glad that I don't have to worry about catching food with a giant piercing mouth part. So there we go. The fascinating wheel bug, captured in digits (we can't say "on film" anymore) right here in Ohio.