The beak of the assassin

Arilus cristatus, the wheel bug

Photo details: (top, middle) Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS 50D.

ISO 100, f/13, 1/160 sec, diffused twin flash

(bottom) Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens on a Canon EOS 50D.

ISO 200, f/11, 1/160 sec, diffuse overhead flash

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Wheelbugs suck...

the guts out of other insects!

Very nice image.

By Joshua King (not verified) on 15 Jan 2010 #permalink


Great pics! The third one, with its use of shadow, is like an Annie Leibovitz photo of a REAL assasin.

The wheel is some pretty damn specific armour. It would be interesting to film these guys and see exactly which birds grab them and where on the body they make the grab. Maybe one of the commenters knows of a study?

No study, but I do remember an online discussion with an entomologist, a naturalist and various others. We all agreed the wheel is for cutting pizza. Don't how know that impacts birds, though.

This critter packs a notable "sting" with that beak. I wonder if the wheel helps the bug prevent getting crushed for long enough to sting the mouth of the bird and be released?

Those are some of my favorite IL insects.

By Anonymous (not verified) on 15 Jan 2010 #permalink

Looks like the Spinosaurus of the insect world.