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True bug

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Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale, a shield bug
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Linnaeus, 1758
Suborders [1]


The true bugs are an order of insects. Biologists call true bugs the Hemiptera. There are around 80,000 species (different kinds) of true bugs. The word bug by itself can have other meanings.

There are many different kinds of true bugs, some of which are aphids, cicadas, planthoppers, shield bugs, and others. All of these are true bugs. Their size is from 1 mm to over 10 cm. All true bugs have similar mouthparts, which they use to suck up plant sap.

Features of true bugs

Bugs have have piercing, sucking mouthparts: this defines the Hemiptera. They pierce plants with their long, tube-like mouth, called a proboscis or a beak. They cannot chew. The true bug pumps saliva through this mouth, to partly digest their food. It then sucks up the food, which is usually plant sap.

The name "Hemiptera" is from the Greek: it means hemi (half) and pteron (wing). Most true bugs have half of their front wings hardened and have the other half soft. These wings are called hemelytra (singular hemelytron), because they halfway look like the hard wings (elytra) of beetles. The hind wings are totally soft and are shorter than the front wings.

The antennae of bugs usually have five segments. The tarsi (foot parts) of their legs have three or less segments.