Some true bugs include blood-sucking bed bugs, kissing bugs, assassin bugs, ambush bugs, stink bugs, chinch bugs, backswimmers, water boatmen, and marsh treaders. Aphids, cicadas, leafhoppers, planthoppers and scale insects are also in this large group.
Order Hemiptera are known as the “true” bugs. A few of their common species include: cicadas, white flies, aphids, leafhoppers, shield bugs, pond skaters, and more. They are one of the largest insect orders with about 82, 000 species found throughout the world. They are usually about one millimeter to fifteen centimeters in length. Their front pair of wings are leathery and thick while their back pair of wings are membranous. Only a few species are wingless. They have slender rostrums (beaks), which are usually used to suck sap out of plants. They can be terrestrial or aquatic. They have long five-segmented antennae and compound eyes. They have scent glands that give off a foul odor when the insect feels threatened. They undergo incomplete metamorphosis, which means they start as an egg, have a nymph stage, and then molt several times to become an adult. They can be found in the fossil record as far back as the Early Permian.
There are over 82,000 species of true bugs, including about 134 families, and they are found all around the world. Nobody knows exactly how many species there are in Michigan, but it is at least 2,000.
Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats Specimen Records:182174 Specimens with Sequences:131911 Specimens with Barcodes:115182 Species:10285 Species With Barcodes:8641 Public Records:114889 Public Species:6000 Public BINs:11600
Different kinds of true bugs can be very different sizes. The smallest are only a few millimeters long. The largest, the cicadas, can sometimes be 50 millimeters long.
True bugs have lots of different shapes. They may have long or short antennae having four or five segments. Their legs are adapted for grasping or for walking, and sometimes for swimming. Some can fly, some have lost their wings. Many true bugs have scent glands on the sides of the thorax. These glands make stinky chemicals that repel predators.
The mouth parts of true bugs have evolved into a long thin beak. They only eat liquid foods. The beak extends back between the legs to rest against the underside of the bug, and they swing it down and forward for use during feeding. The beak is made up of thin blades that are sharp at the end, and have a segmented cover. There are two channels in the beak, one spitting out saliva to keep the food flowing, and one for sucking in liquid food. Some true bugs can give a painful bite.
Adult true bugs have two pairs of wings, except for a few groups that have evolved to lose their wings. In one big group of true bugs, the front pair of wings are partly leathery, partly clear.
In most true bug species, males and females look similar.
Range length: 5.0 to 60.0 mm.
Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; heterothermic ; bilateral symmetry
This website provides a range of resources dealing with the inventory, identification, geographic distribution and natural history of New Zealand Hemiptera (suborders Heteroptera, Auchenorrhyncha and Coleorrhyncha).
Some species of true bugs feed on the blood of mammals, including people. Bed bugs are true bugs. One group of species in Central and South America carry a dangerous disease from one person to another. The bites and droppings of other species cause skin irritations.
Many plant-sucking bugs cause damage to crops and landscaping. For example aphids are major pests of many food plants.
Negative Impacts: injures humans (bites or stings, causes disease in humans , carries human disease); crop pest; causes or carries domestic animal disease ; household pest
This website provides a range of resources dealing with the inventory, identification, geographic distribution
and natural history of New Zealand Hemiptera (suborders Heteroptera, Auchenorrhyncha and Coleorrhyncha).