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Leaf-footed bug (Acanthocephala terminalis)

leaf-footed bug

Leaf-footed bug (Acanthocephala terminalis) is a 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. It is found from early June to late September in open woods, woodland borders and paths, thickets, and roadsides. Its long, specialized mouth is optimized for sucking juices from plant stems and leaf stalks. Like stink bugs it squirts a foul-smelling chemical from the side of its body when handled. The nymphs feed on common ninebark, staghorn sumac, and wild grape. Adults have a more varied diet, possibly including bird droppings.

Leaf-footed bug is distinguished by yellowish-orange antennae tips, femurs, and foot segments; femurs that are parallel-sided or only slightly tapered toward the end; and fourth leg segments that are greatly dilated in the basal half, gradually tapered beyond the middle toward the end, and not at all dilated in the final third.