AppearanceLeaf footed bugs are named for the leaf-like expansions of the hind tibia and femora. Acanthocephala terminalis is typically dark- or reddish-brown colored, as are the first three segments of its antennae. The fourth, however, is pale orange, yellowish, or whitish in color, a distinctive trait referred to by its species name, terminalis. Relatively small for its genus, adults can reach 20-22 mm (over ¾”).
DistributionThis bug can be found throughout much of the eastern US and southern Canada, spreading west as far as Colorado and Texas.
HabitatIt is usually encountered on vegetation, especially on trees and shrubs on the edges of forests or in weedy fields.
ReproductionIn the late spring, these bugs mate and females lay eggs attached to the leaves of host plants. After the juveniles hatch, they pass through five instars (moults) before becoming adults. When they have first hatched, they resemble tiny, pinkish-whitish versions of this nymph. With each moult, the bugs increase in size and resemblance to the adult until, by the fifth instar, they have almost reached their adult size and nearly resemble the adult. However, many of the early nymphs are quite unique-looking. They tend to have rounded, flat abdomens fringed by a zig-zag whitish fringe, which they hold aloft as they crawl. In addition, all of their legs are somewhat flattened and leaf-like, instead of just the rear two (as is the case with the adults).
Once it is mature, this species overwinters as an adult, and will mate and lay eggs again in the springtime.
FoodBoth the nymphs and the adults feed on sap which they suck from various plants, including staghorn sumac, river grape, and nine-bark. They are also commonly found on ash, elm, and linden trees as well as blackberries and other shrubs; however, there is no definite evidence of them feeding on these plants.
Some text fragments are auto parsed from Wikipedia.http://www.mlbs.virginia.edu/organism/acanthocephala_terminalis