Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
(True Bugs, formerly classified as a separate order Hemiptera), Auchenorrhyncha
(the latter two formerly classified together in the order Homoptera)
Explanation of Names
HEMIPTERA: hemi 'half' + pteron 'wing'; refers mainly to True Bugs, whose forewings have a leathery basal part and membranous apical portion
~10,200 spp. in almost 1600 genera in our area (~4,000 spp. in Canada); a third of the species are heteropteran(1)(2)
; worldwide, ~82,000 described spp. (estimated almost 200,000 total)(3)
for discussion of features separating major lineages and a list of latest identification aids.
Auchenorrhyncha and Sternorrhyncha(1)(5)
Body often soft, but sometimes thickened, leathery
Many groups covered in spines, setae (hair-like structures), or waxy coverings
Antennae usually with 3-10 (up to 13) segments
Wings at rest are held rooflike over the body
Mouthparts are piercing/sucking, beaklike, as in Heteroptera
Beak arises from posterior portion of underside of head, not front portion as in Heteroptera
Soft or hard-bodied, often dorsoventrally flattened in profile
Typically two pairs of wings in adult: forewings (hemelytra) are partly thick and protective, and partly membranous
Wings at rest are held flat over the body, and have apical portion (tip) crossed - a distinctive characteristic
Scutellum (triangular portion of thorax exposed between base of wings along midline) is prominent. Beetles may also have a prominent scutellum.
Mouthparts are a piercing or sucking "beak" arising from front of head
Antennae with 4-5 segments
Many have thoracic scent glands
Many terrestrial and freshwater habitats
All non-heteropteran members and most Heteroptera feed on plant juices; among Heteroptera, there are many exclusively predatory families (esp. aquatic and semi-aquatic) and major predatory groups in other families. Some suck vertebrate blood. Some are major agricultural pests.
Auchenorrhyncha and Sternorrhyncha usually have three life-stages: egg, nymph, and adult - and some have prepupal and pupal stages. Some groups are ovoviviparous (eggs hatch inside female, and young are born live).
Heteroptera have gradual or incomplete metamorphosis (no pupa stage); juveniles (nymphs) resemble adults except they usually have reduced wings and are incapable of flight.
(Coleoptera): forewings all leathery (not subdivided) and meet in a straight line down the middle
Photo identification guide(6)
(covers British Isles but may be useful in many ways)