While walking on Snake Road in southern Illinois this month, I saw this curious looking creature on a tree. It was too thin-bodied to be a Walking Stick and it also had the ability to fly.
Thread-legged Bugs are are a type of Assassin Bug, which means they have piercing, sucking mouthparts that look like a long, pointy straw. They pierce the exoskeleton of their insect prey and suck out the insides.
Though the raptorial front legs are reminiscent of those of a Preying Mantis, the Thread-Legged Bug is not closely related to the mantis. This insect walks around on four long, impossibly thin legs and snatches its prey with its forelegs before stabbing it with its pointy mouth.
Like other Assassin Bugs, Thread-Legged Bugs are beneficial predators. I had never come across one of these before and it was an awesome encounter.