Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Upcoming Events

See Moth submissions from National Moth Week 2023

Photos of insects and people from the 2022 BugGuide gathering in New Mexico, July 20-24

Photos of insects and people from the Spring 2021 gathering in Louisiana, April 28-May 2

Photos of insects and people from the 2019 gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Photos of insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Previous events


Genus Acanthocephala

Acanthocephala declivis rescued from a Cat-Faced Spider (Araneus gemmoides) - Acanthocephala declivis squash bug? - Acanthocephala Acanthocephala thomasi nymph? - Acanthocephala thomasi leaf-footed bug - Acanthocephala terminalis Leaf-footed bug? - Acanthocephala terminalis Acanthocephala terminalis fourth-instar nymph (used for article on rearing) - Acanthocephala terminalis Acanthocephala terminalis 9081173 Coreid - Acanthocephala terminalis
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hemiptera (True Bugs, Cicadas, Hoppers, Aphids and Allies)
Suborder Heteroptera (True Bugs)
Infraorder Pentatomomorpha
Superfamily Coreoidea (Leatherbugs)
Family Coreidae (Leaf-footed Bugs)
Subfamily Coreinae
Tribe Acanthocephalini
Genus Acanthocephala
Other Common Names
Big-footed or Big-legged Plant Bugs, Spine-headed Bugs
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
our fauna reviewed in(1) (A. alata is mentioned but not covered there)
Explanation of Names
Acanthocephala LaPorte 1833
Greek akanth- 'thorn/spine' + kephale 'head' (refers to the spine on the front of the head)
Acanthocephala is also a phylum of parasitic worms
5 spp. in our area; 27 total(2)
20-30 mm
Large, dark brown to black; tylus laterally flattened and prominently pointed.
Any Acanthocephala found north of NC-OK is likely to be A. terminalis (although A. declivis seems to be extending its range north).
Note: In states other than AZ, CA, FL, GA, and TX there are only three species to choose from. They may be eliminated easily if compared in this order: A. declivis has a distinctive right-angled hind leg flange and broad pronotum, A. femorata has uniformly red antennae, and A. terminalis has red-tipped antennae.
New World, mostly neotropical(2); in our area, e. NA & so. US as follows:
A. alata TX (BG data; no published records?)
A. declivis VA-FL to MO-AR-AZ(1)
A. femorata NC-FL to KS-TX(1)
A. terminalis ON-FL to NE-CO-TX(1)(3)
A. thomasi CA-TX(1)
Deciduous forests, fields, etc.
our only representative of the New World tribe Acanthocephalini Stål 1870, that contains ~100 spp. in 15 genera(2)
See Also
Leptoglossus (metatibial expansion generally shorter and often wider)
Works Cited
1.Review of Acanthocephala (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Coreidae) of America north of Mexico with a key to species
McPherson J.E., Packauskas R.J., Sites R.W., Taylor S.J., Bundy C.S., Bradshaw J.D., Mitchell P.L. 2011. Zootaxa 2835: 30-40.
2.Livermore L.J.R., Lemaître V.A., Dolling W.R., Webb M.D. Coreoidea species file online. Version 5.0
3.Checklist of the Hemiptera of Canada and Alaska
Maw, H.E.L., R.G. Foottit, K.G.A. Hamilton and G.G.E. Scudder. 2000. NRC Research Press.