Family: Reduviidae (assassin bugs)
Alias: Wheel Bug
These photos are of a Giant Wheel Bug in its nymph stage. They were taken in front of the house where sunflowers were growing, which happens to be one of their favorite plants to hang out on.
Are seen in the Eastern United States from Rhode Island to Texas.
Operates primarily from summer into fall in mostly leafy areas like forests, parks or shrubbery. They like to hang out on sunflowers, goldenrod, cotton, trunks of locust trees and various fruit and tree groves.
Beetle larvae and adults, aphids, slow-moving caterpillars and other soft-bodied insects.
~ Not aggressive but will bite if mishandled; bite is very painful
~ Attacks its prey with aggressive stabbing motions using the fang at the front of its head
~ The family name Reduviidae literally means “hangnail”
~ One of the largest true bugs in existence
~ Named for the prominent spiny ridge or “wheel” on the thorax
~ When threatened, it gives of =f a stench
~ During flight, they have been compared to an ultra-light plane or large grasshopper because they produce a loud buzzing sound
Bug Guide: Identification help
Wikipedia: A good supply of details
Texas A&M: This site has the largest amount of information of these five
University of Kentucky: A good clear photo each of the adult and the nymph and information available to download in PDF