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INSECTS & BUGS

HEMIPTERA
(TRUE BUGS)


TRUE BUGS

The Order Hemiptera is called "True Bugs".


Where do true bugs, i.e. Hemiptera fit?

Phylum Arthropoda - Arthropods
Superclass Hexapoda - Hexapods
Class Insecta - Insects
Subclass Pterygota
Order Hemiptera - True Bugs

For some Taxonomy on Hemiptera, we provide the following:

Hemiptera are Hemimetabolic insects. Hemimetabolic insects are those in which the young look like wingless adults and they have a sort of metamorphosis which does not involve a pupa.

The Hemiptera insect Order is the largest and by far the most successful of the Hemimetabolic insects. There are more than 80,000 species of Hemiptera which have been named and there are probably many more. Of these there are about 11,000 named species in North America, 1,600 in the United Kingdom and 5,600 in Australia, for starters. They occur worldwide.

The Order of Hemiptera is usually divided into two groups, being the Heteroptera and the Homoptera. Homoptera has been divided into two sub groups, being Sternorrhyncha, and Auchenorrhyncha, based primarily on wing structure. However, now the Order is considered divided into three suborders, Sternorrhyncha, Auchenorrhyncha and Heteroptera. The Auchenorrhyncha sub-order is now believed to be more closely related to the Heteroptera than the Sternorrhyncha.

The Hemiptera range from 1 mm to 11 cm in length, their antennae usually only have 4 or 5 segments. Two or 3 ocelli are usual and their compound eyes are normally well developed. The main feature of the group is the mouthparts which are of the piercing/sucking type. the mandibles and maxillae form 2 pairs of piercing stylets and are contained in a flexible sheath derived from the labium. All the Homopterans and many of the Heteropterans feed on plant juices, though many of the Heteroptera are predatory and some are useful as controllers of plant pests. The 2 groups can often be distinguished easily as the Heteropterans have a large pronotum and a relatively small mesonotum and metonotumu whereas most Homopterans have a small pronotum and a large mesonotum and slightly smaller metanotum. Further to this the wings of the Heteropterans are usually held flat over the body and the forewings which are hard and stiff almost like beetle elytra have the end part soft and membranous; therefore Heteropteran forewings are referred to as 'hemi-elytra'. Homopterans usually hold their wings over the body like a tent and the forewings are entirely sclerotised with no membraneous tip.

We note with appreciation, for some of the technical information supplied above, the websites http://bugguide.net/node/view/64
and http://www.earthlife.net/insects/hemip.html .



The giant water bug is an example of a Hemiptera. Here is one (a little bad for the wear--we promise to get a better specimen soon).

Giant Water Bug--obverse
Note hard shiny wing covers
and the projections on the
hind feet for swimming
Giant Water Bug--reverse
Note the eyes, sucking mouth
parts and the hind feet
projections for swimming


We will be adding more information and some more graphics shortly.
Thank you for your patience as we build this page.