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Hemiptera
TRUE BUGS; STINK BUGS; SHIELD BUGS; SQUASH BUGS; MILKWEED BUGS; AMBUSH BUGS; CINCH BUGS; WATER BOATMEN; WATER STRIDERS; CICADAS; APHIDS; SCALE INSECTS; LEAFHOPPERS; BUGS; LEAF HOPPERS; STINKS; SHIELDS; SQUASHES; MILKWEEDS
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Acalypta duryi, Lacebug
© Discover Life, 2000-2013 · 20
Acalypta duryi, Lacebug
Cicadoidea
© Donald Lewis · 1
Cicadoidea
Overview
Hemiptera, known as True Bugs, is a very large and diverse order. They are found all over the world; there are few habitats without a Hemiptera adapted to living there. There are 80,000 described species in 37 families. The order is divided into three suborders: Geocorizae (terrestrial bugs), Amphibicorizae (semiaquatic or shore-inhabiting bugs), and Hydrocorizae (aquatic bugs). Hemiptera are also important in agriculture, known to cause direct damage to plants by herbivory and indirectly by transporting diseases (Dooling, 1991). Predatory Hemiptera have also been used in agricultural systems to control pests (Coll and Ruberson, 1998).

Called the true bugs, insects in the order hemiptera have a particular structure of the front wings from which the order gets its name

  • Basal portion of the front wing is thickened and leathery
  • Apical portion is membranous (this type of wing is called hemelytron, or hemelytran if single)
  • Hind wings are completely membranous and shorter than the front wings
  • Wings at rest are held over the abdomen with membranous tips overlapping

Other characeristics of Hemiptera include:

  • piercing-sucking mouth parts
  • Mouth part in form of segmented beak arising from front part of the head and extending back along the ventral side of the body at times as far as the base of the hind legs
  • Antennae are fairly long and contain four to five segments
  • Compound eyes are usually well developed
  • Many have glands secreting unpleasant odor
  • Well developed wings in general
  • Some are wingless
  • Eggs cases may be layed on plants or sometimes just dropped
  • Simple metamorphosis with mostly five nymphal instars
  • Most species are terrestrial but some are aquatic
  • Predacious ones are beneficial to man
  • Some may serve as disease vectors
Hemiptera means "half-wings", referring to how the wings overlap and how they are made of two dissimilar halves. (Slater and Baranowski, 1978)
Common Name: True Bugs

Identification
There is much diversity in the morphology of the order. All Hemiptera have large compound eyes. The second pair of eyes are ocelli. The antennae have four or five segments. Mouthparts have been adapted for piercing or sucking. The mandibles and maxillae are modified as needle-like stylets. Each stylet has two canals: one for delivering saliva and one for sucking fluid. (Gullan and Cranston, 1994). The thorax is divided into three segments, each with a pair of legs. The front pair of wings is found on the mesothorax and the second pair is found on the metathorax. Wings can be reduced or absent. The legs are modified for swimming or predation. The abdomen is made up of nine or ten segments. Segments 8 and 9 are modified to form the genitalia, which are used in identification (Slater and Baranowski, 1978). Mouthparts highly modified for piercing and sucking. The mandibles and maxillae form 4 piercing stylets within the beak (labium), which arises form the front of the head. The antennae are 4-5 segmented. Nymphs have external wingpads (sometimes absent) and unsegmented tarsi. Adults have the forewing (hemelytra) basally thickened and apically membranous. The hindwings are fully membranous. Some species may be brachypterous or apterous, if apterous the tarsi are 2-3 segmented.

Phylogeny

Taxonomic Category Scientific Name Common Name
Phylum Arthropoda Arthropods
Class Insecta Insects
Order Hemiptera True Bugs


Photographs

Geographic distribution
Hemiptera are found in a diversity of habitats all over the world (Slater and Baranowski, 1978). There are 80,000 species and more to be named. Approximately 11,000 species are found in North America (Earthlife).

Natural history
Hemiptera undergo incomplete metamorphosis. The egg is inserted into plant tissues, bark, or soil. The egg is usually a simple elliptical shape; however, some families have unusually-shaped eggs. For example, Pentatomidae have small barrel-shaped eggs. The eggs of Reduviidae have spines and filaments (Dooling,1991). The nymph undergoes five instars (time between molts). After each instar, there is an increase in size. Wing pads become visible and scent gland develop for protection (Dooling, 1991). The adults feed actively on plants and other insects. They live on leaves (terrestrial) or on the surface of the