1. Home
  2. Fun Animal Facts
  3. Did You Know? 17 Incredible Peanut Bug Facts


Kidadl Team

SEPTEMBER 13, 2021

Did You Know? 17 Incredible Peanut Bug Facts

Peanut bug facts are interesting.

A peanut bug (Fulgora laternaria) is a unique insect with a distinct head shape that closely resembles a peanut. They get their common name from this unique shape of the head. The insects have closer characteristics to a bug rather than flies. These strange-looking bugs are known by several other common names like a peanut-headed bug, lantern fly, peanut-headed lanternfly, jequitiranaboia, machaca, cocoposa, chicharra-machacuy, and alligator bug. Many reasons regarding the large bulbous structure on its head have been curated. Some believe it to be a tool of the males to attract females to breed with them. Another more appropriate justification is that the bug uses this bulbous structure to scare away the predators. The reptile-like heads of the insects resemble the heads of the species of lizard and snake. For this reason, it is referred to as the alligator bug.

The true bug has several myths related to it. The name of the species peanut-headed lanternfly comes from a belief that the insect's large head can light up at night in the presence of both sexes. However, there is no evidence of their head lighting up, and at present, scientists have totally discarded this false myth. There are also several historical and superstitious myths related to the peanut bug. In Costa Rica, the locals assume the peanut structure to be full of poison, and people die instantly if they get bitten by this insect. In Bolivia, they are regarded as dangerous because of the colors of their wings. In reality, these insects are absolutely harmless. To know more fun facts about the peanut head bug, keep on reading these amazing peanut head bug facts.

For similar content, check out ambush bug and fairyfly facts too.

Peanut Bug Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a peanut bug?

A peanut bug (Fulgora laternaria) is a type of insect. It is known by some common names like lanternfly, peanut-headed lanternfly, and peanut-headed bug.

What class of animal does a peanut bug belong to?

The peanut head bug (Fulgora laternaria) of Hemiptera order and Fulgoridae family belong to the class Insecta, the common class for all insects and bugs.

How many peanut bugs are there in the world?

The population of the peanut-headed lanternflies has not been determined. The peanut bugs population has not been estimated because of its seasonal appearance. Their population widely fluctuates based on seasons. For example, the bugs are fairly common throughout their large range in the peak summer season, but by winter, they disappear. The warm summer temperature provides the ideal living conditions to the insect, and therefore, they are most commonly visible during June and July. Their population is not threatened by any major threat yet, but largescale destruction of forests can reflect a decline in their number in the future.

Where does a peanut bug live? 

The peanut heads are an endemic species of Central and South America. They are found in the tropical and subtropical forests of Mexico, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Honduras, and Panama.

What is a peanut bug's habitat? 

The peanut-headed lanternfly is found in the tropical region. The species inhabits dry or moist forests. In the morning, the insect rests on tree trunks and becomes active at dusk.

Who do peanut bugs live with?

The peanut bug lives on large trees disguised with the trunk. They are solitary in nature and entertain a mate only during breeding.

How long does a peanut bug live?

The adult peanut head bug can live up to one week in the wild if they are not killed by predators before that.

How do they reproduce?

Reproduction in adults takes place strictly during the summer months when the environment is ideal for the insect to mate. Very little information exists about the reproduction method of the peanut head bug. It is believed that the females select the male bugs to breed based on the length of the peanut head and elaborate body colors. The best genes are passed to the next generation bug species in this way. The elaborate information about the mating behaviors of the adults are missing. The insects knock its head on the tree trunks to attract mates to breed. The female lays a wax-coated single egg after reproduction, preferably on the leaves of the quapinol tree. Perhaps, the wax coat protects the eggs.

What is their conservation status?

The peanut-headed bug's (Fulgora laternaria) conservation status is not mentioned in the Red List produced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature or the IUCN. The species is considered to be highly abundant in its native region. They do not face any major threat, which absolutely reduces the chances of extinction soon. However, in the winter, the alligator bug completely disappears from its entire range, and it reappears again in June.

Peanut Bug Fun Facts

What do peanut bugs look like?

The peanut-headed bug is a small and strange-looking insect with a large protruding head that resembles a peanut. They have a yellow flaky eye-like structure on the hind wings that are used to confuse and scare away the attackers. They have yellow-brown shells with black white patterns.

Peanut head bug fun facts talk about how harmless they are.

How cute are they?

They are not really considered to be cute.

How do they communicate?

The insects communicate by vibrations.

How big is a peanut bug? 

The length of a lanternfly ranges between 3.3–3.5 in (85–90 mm) with a wingspan ranging between 4-6 in (100-150 mm). They are two times bigger than the wheel bug.

How fast can peanut bugs move?

The speed of the peanut head bug is unknown.

How much does a peanut bug weigh?

The weight of the species has not been determined.

What are the male and female names of the species?

A male and female species do not have any specific name. Both of them are called peanut-headed lanternflies.

What would you call a baby peanut bug?

A bug in its early stage is called a larva.

What do they eat? 

The lanternflies feed on plants. They suck nectar and sap from plants with their straw-like mouth.

Are they harmful?

Although they look dangerous, they are harmless, like stick bugs.

Would they make a good pet?

No, they do not make good pets.

Did you know...

In several other countries like Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, and Peru, a person needs to mate within 24 hours if they get bit by the peanut-headed bug.

Where do peanut bugs come from?

The peanut bug is an old world like the Hercules beetle bug that comes from the forests of Central and South America.

What is the peanut bug's learned behavior?

The insect does not have any such specific learned behaviors. However, they have a small sac under the head. They can produce stink like the stink bug when they feel threatened.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other insects from our Emperor dragonfly facts and Ten-Lined June Beetle facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable I is for Insect coloring pages.


Second image by Pavel Kirillov fr.

Get The Kidadl Newsletter
1,000's of inspirational ideas direct to your inbox for things to do with your kids.

By joining Kidadl you agree to Kidadl’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and consent to receiving marketing communications from Kidadl.

In need of more inspiration?