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Leaf-Footed Bug (Leptoglossus oppositus)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Leaf-Footed Bug, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 8/15/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Leaf-Footed Bug  
Picture of Leaf-Footed-Bug-Leptoglossus-Oppositus
Picture of Leaf-Footed-Bug-Leptoglossus-Oppositus

Flattened 'thighs' that shaped like leaves, often with ridges of spiky teeth, are hallmarks of Leaf-footed Bugs and this species is no exception.

Leptoglossus oppositus is a species of Leaf-footed Bug found mostly in the eastern part of the continent as well as south into Central America. Adults are a reddish brown and a white dot at the center of the wings. Two other white dots further down form a triangular 'constellation' on the dorsal (back) side. These may be remnants of what was almost a white band that crosses the mid-section (seen on some of its relatives). The legs get most of the attention, however, thanks to their peculiar shape. Flat and oblong, the lower leg (tibia, or 'shin') is edged in a spiky scallop. The edge of the upper leg ('thigh') is also lined with teeth. These are used to fight with other males over females. Leaf-footed Bugs can release a stinky secretion as a defensive mechanism if threatened.

Juveniles look like smaller, short-winged versions of adults. This species feeds on and is fond of the pods that grow on catalpa trees, a native American genus of trees that is common in the South. Catawba, Indian bean trees, and Southern Catalpa grow long skinny fruit shaped like green beans. Leptoglossus oppositus uses it mouthparts to pierce the pod and drink plant juices, though it is not considered a pest.

Leaf-Footed Bug Information

Category: True Bug
Common Name: Leaf-Footed Bug
Scientific Name: Leptoglossus oppositus

Taxonomy Hierarchy

 Arrow graphic Kingdom: Animalia
  Arrow graphic Phylum: Arthropoda
   Arrow graphic Class: Insecta
    Arrow graphic Order: Hemiptera
     Arrow graphic Family: Coreidae
      Arrow graphic Genus: Leptoglossus
       Arrow graphic Species: oppositus

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 15 mm to 20 mm (0.585 inches to 0.78 inches)
Identifying Colors: brown, white
Additional Descriptors: dots, flying, thighs, legs, thick, scalloped, spiny

North American Territorial Reach (Though Not Limited To): Alabama; Arizona; Arkansas; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Nebraska;New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Vermont; Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Mexico

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

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