leaf-footed bug

(Acanthocephala terminalis)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

leaf-footed bug

NatureServe

not listed

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Widespread and frequently encountered

Flight/Season

One generation per year: early June to late September

Habitat

Open woods, woodland borders and paths, thickets, and roadsides.

Size

Total Length: 11 16 to

 

Identification

This is a 11 16 to long, terrestrial, widespread and frequently encountered true bug. It is a relatively large bug (order Hemiptera) but a small leaf-footed bug (genus Acanthocephala), the smallest in North America north of Mexico.

The body is fairly hard and reddish-brown to nearly black. The front (anterior) thoracic shield (pronotum) is covered with short, gold-colored hairs and with small bumps (tubercles).

There are two pairs of wings. They are held flat over the body when at rest. They are longer than the body but do not completely cover the sides of the body. The forewings are longer than the hind wings. They have a thickened section at the base (hemelytra) and a thin membranous section at the tip with a clear dividing line between the two. The hemelytra is comprised of a triangular section (scutellum) at the base, a narrow area (clavus) behind the scutellum, and a broad marginal area (corium). At the end of the corium there is a small but distinct triangular area (cuneus). The hindwings are thin and membranous.

The head is small, much narrower and somewhat shorter than the pronotum. There is a pair of large compound eyes and a pair of small simple eyes (occelli). The mouth parts are optimized for piercing and sucking. They take the form of a long, 4-segmented beak. The beak projects in front of the head and extends along the underside of the body between the legs. It consists of 4 hair-like blades (stylets) with sharp tips enclosed in a 4-segmented sheath. There are two channels in the beak, one spitting out saliva to keep the food flowing, and one for sucking in liquid food. The two lower jaw-like structures (maxillae) and two lower lips do not have feeler-like structures (palps) attached. The antennae are exposed, conspicuous, and long, much longer than the head. They have four segments, the basal three dark reddish-brown, the terminal segment bright yellowish-orange.

The third segment (femur) of the hind leg is is stout and either parallel-sided or only slightly expanded toward the end (apex). The fourth segment (tibia) is greatly dilated and scalloped in the basal half, gradually narrowing beyond the middle toward apex, and not at all dilated in the final third. The female tibia is less dilated than the male tibia. The feet (tarsi) have only 3 segments. The tarsi on all legs and the femurs on the front and middle legs are frequently orange or orangish.

 
Similar
Species

 


Larval Food

Sap from petioles and stems of common ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius), staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina), and wild grape (Vitis riparia).

 
Adult Food

Plant sap. Adults have been observed on bird droppings but it is not known if they feed on the droppings.

 
Life Cycle

Bright whitish eggs are deposited singly from mid-June to mid-July. The eggs hatch in 7 to 14 days. The young (nymphs) pass through 5 instar stages in 5 to 10 weeks (mean time 58 days) before becoming an adult. The mean number of days spent as the first through fifth instars is 4, 13, 13, 10, and 19, respectively. Adults overwinter.

 
Behavior

They are easily disturbed and are rapid fliers. When handled they squirt a foul-smelling chemical from glands on the sides of their bodies that is an effective deterrent.

Immature individuals are usually concealed, either on the underside of a leaf or on the stem of a plant.


Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 7, 29.


Comments

Taxonomy
There are 25 known species of leaf-footed bugs (genus Acanthocephala) worldwide, 5 of which occur in North America north of Mexico. Among these, Acanthocephala terminalis has by far the widest distribution and is the only one found in Minnesota.


Taxonomy

Order:

Hemiptera (true bugs, cicadas, hoppers, aphids and allies)

 

No Rank:

Euhemiptera

 

No Rank:

Neohemiptera

 

No Rank:

Prosorrhyncha

 

Suborder:

Heteroptera (true bugs)

 

No Rank:

Euheteroptera

 

No Rank:

Neoheteroptera

 

No Rank:

Panheteroptera

 

Infraorder:

Pentatomomorpha

 

Superfamily:

Coreoidea (leatherbugs)

 

Family:

Coreidae (leaf-footed bugs)

 

Subfamily:

Coreinae

 

Tribe:

Acanthocephalini

 
Synonyms

Acanthocephala confraterna

Metapodius confraternus

Metapodius terminalis

 
Common
Names

leaf-footed bug


 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

femur

On insects and arachnids, the third, largest, most robust segment of the leg, coming immediately before the tibia. On humans, the thigh bone.

 

instar

The developmental stage of arthropods between each molt; in insects, the developmental stage of the larvae or nymph.

 

ocellus

Simple eye; an eye with a single lens. Plural: ocelli.

 

petiole

The stalk of a leaf blade or compound leaf that attaches the leaf blade to the stem.

 

pronotum

The saddle-shaped, exoskeletal plate on the upper side of the first segment of the thorax of an insect.

 

scutellum

The exoskeletal plate covering the rearward (posterior) part of the middle segment of the thorax in some insects. In Coleoptera, Hemiptera, and Homoptera, the dorsal, often triangular plate behind the pronotum and between the bases of the front wings. In Diptera, the exoskeletal plate between the abdomen and the thorax.

 

tarsus

The last two to five subdivisions of an insect’s leg, attached to the tibia; the foot. Plural: tarsi.

 

tibia

The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot).

 

 

 

 

 

       

Visitor Photos

   
Share your photo of this insect.

       
       
       

MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos

   
  leaf-footed bug   leaf-footed bug
       
       

 

Camera

     

Slideshows

   
  leaf-footed bug (Acanthocephala terminalis)
Bill Keim
 
  leaf-footed bug (Acanthocephala terminalis)  

 

slideshow

     

Visitor Videos

   
Share your video of this insect.

     
     

Other Videos

 
  Leaf Footed BUG - Acanthocephala terminalis
Mark Berman
 
   
 
About

Published on Apr 23, 2012

 
     
  Leaf-footed Bug
Carol Snow Milne
 
   
 
About

Published on Jun 7, 2012

Acanthocephala terminalis - On the deck, Poconos, PA

 
     

 

Camcorder

         

Visitor Sightings

   
Share your sighting of this insect.

     
     
 

MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings

   


 

 

Binoculars

Last Updated:

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © 2017 MinnesotaSeasons.com. All rights reserved.