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 ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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.