Any ideas? I didn't know any other way to explain it.

I live in Indiana, USA if that helps.

Someone said it might be a "stink bug" but I'm not sure and not willing to find out!

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2 Answers 2


Its definitely a True bug (Hemiptera), and based on its distinct pronotum and small head I'm guessing its a Wheel bug (Arilus cristatus). It is a common species that is also found in Indiana.

They are aggresive predators and are part of the family Reduviidae also known as Assassin bugs. Assassin bugs have a painful bite, and they inject a toxin when they stab their victim (so humans should watch out). This is not a part of the world I know well though, and there might be similar closely related species that I've missed.


Some pictures:

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  • $\begingroup$ I would have called it an assassin bug, but I guess you're more specific than that. $\endgroup$
    – user137
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 21:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @user137 You are correct in the sense that it belongs to the family of Assassin bugs. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 22:16
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @ansarob Yes, they can have a nasty bite, and they inject a toxin when they stab a victim. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 22:19
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Right, this is definitely a wheel bug. Watch out for their bite! $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 9, 2016 at 17:55

This does indeed look like a wheel bug (Arilus cristatus) as @fileunderwater indicates in his now 4-year-old post.

I just wanted to add 2 bits of information:

  1. Range: Most eastern US states, from New York to Florida, through parts of the midwest and central plains down through Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

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Source: Bugguide.net

  • The University of Florida Entomology and Nematology further claims:

    It has been reported from Rhode Island west to California, and south to Texas and Florida. Blatchley (1926) included Mexico and Guatemala in its range. Wygodzinsky (1949) recognized four species of Arilus in this New World genus, but only cristatus occurs in the United States

  • This source provides an additional map (informally created from collected resources) that shows inclusion of California, Vermont, and Mexico in the wheekl bug's range..


  1. Wheel bugs are sexually dimorphic, so do not be surprised if you see a noticeable gradation in size between specimens:

enter image description here

Source: Wikipedia

  • I don't believe there is documented geographical size differences, so ranges in size would be due to age or sex.

Cited sources from quote (for convenience):

  1. Blatchley WS. 1926. Heteroptera or true bugs of eastern North America, with especial reference to the faunas of Indiana and Florida. Nature Publishing Company, Indianapolis, IN. 1116 pp.

  2. Wygodzinsky P. 1949. Elenco sistematico de los Reduviiformes Americanos. Univ. Nac. Tucuman, Inst. Med. Reg. (Pub. No. 473), Monograph No. 1: 1-102.


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