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Leaf-footed Bug (Leptoglossus oppositus)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Leaf-footed Bug.

 Updated: 8/23/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




Leaf-footed Bug have flattened 'thighs', not feet, that are shaped like leaves, complete with serrated edges.



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 have 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 dots may be remnants of what almost became a white band crossing the mid-section (seen on some of its relatives). The legs of this insect get most of the attention, however, thanks to their peculiar shape. Flat and oblong, the lower leg (tibia) is edged in a spiky scallop. It has the appearance of a small dry leaf, hence the descriptive common name. The edge of the upper leg ('thigh') is also lined with small serrated '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. Also called Catawba, Indian bean trees, and Southern Catalpa, these trees grow long skinny fruit shaped like green beans. Leptoglossus oppositus uses it mouth parts to pierce the pod and drink plant juices, though it is not considered a pest.
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hemiptera
        Family: Coreidae
          Genus: Leptoglossus
            Species: oppositus
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Leptoglossus oppositus
Category: True Bug
Size (Adult; Length): 15mm to 20mm (0.59in to 0.78in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown, white
Descriptors: dots, flying, thighs, legs, thick, scalloped, spiny
Territorial Map
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
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Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
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Mexico
Note: 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 as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.