Jalysus sp.

Stilt Bug

Stilt Bug, genus Jalysus, image from West Virginia

Family: Berytidae

Subfamily: Metacanthinae

Length: 6-9 mm


In the mid-twentieth century most entomology textbooks stated that Stilt Bugs were exclusively plant feeders. Some Stilt Bugs were specialists, feeding exclusively on one species or one group of plants. By the 1970s, however, a number of researchers were reporting that these bugs' plant-based diet was supplemented in many cases by small arthropods, and that some species fed primarily on insects and their eggs.

With their very long legs Stilt Bugs might be confused with Thread-legged Assassin Bugs, but Stilt Bugs do not have grasping front legs. Another important trait of the family Berytidae is the very long basal segment of the antennae.

One species of the genus shown here, Jalysus, has been released in tobacco fields to help control hornworms (Wheeler and Schaefer, 1982). Jalysus generally may be found on weeds, shrubs, and tall grasses. Adults overwinter in protected places ranging from under logs to nestled amid the furry leaves of Common Mullein.

All species of Jalysus found in eastern North America are either J. spinosus or J. wickhami, but unfortunately these species cannot be differentiated without examination of the male genitalia.

Jalysus sp., Stilt Bug, family Berytidae

Note that this is both the genus page for Jalysus and the family page for Stilt Bugs

American Insects site