This species of North American true bug ranges from the southern United States to Guatemala and some Caribbean islands.
It is the largest of this genus within this range, often growing to be 1-1/4 inches long. Leaf-footed bugs are named for the spines and flat dilations on their hind legs.
The Giant Leaf-footed Bug can be distinguished from similar species by its much more broadly expanding shield, which is wider than its abdomen.
Leaf-footed bugs are are plant-feeders. They live above ground on their host plants where they may feed on seeds, fruits, stems or leaves.
Like all true bugs, the adults are equipped with a beak, a hypodermic needle-like device carried under the head, which they uses to pierce the plant tissue and suck out liquids.
This was the first time I’ve ever encountered this impressive insect and it was a welcome find on Thanksgiving Weekend in Central Illinois.