Monday, March 22, 2010


To most people, a "bug" could be anything from a cockroach to a crayfish, but a "true bug" is an insect in the order Heteroptera. This includes assassin bugs, stink bugs, leaf-footed bugs, aphids and their relatives. They all have piercing-sucking mouthparts that are sometimes called beaks. In general, beetles, cockroaches and many other orders that might look like a true bug, have chewing mouthparts. True bugs are usually either predatory, such as this wheel bug (Arilus cristatus) or suck out plant juices using their beaks. (More info about the wheel bug, which is big and can bite, here , including their geometric egg-laying pattern and some great images of the babies hatching out.) True bugs also usually have a clear patch (or hemelytrous portion) in their wings towards the end of their abdomen, although there are a few that look a lot like beetles in this respect. True bugs do not undergo a complete metamorphosis (caterpillar/larva to chrysalis/cocoon/pupa to adult) like a butterfly, moth or beetle, but instead start out looking something like a minature adult and getting more and more adult-like each time that they shed their exoskeleton as they grow. This is known as incomplete, or gradual, metamorphosis, and is something like what we do, except that we don't shed our exoskeletons because we don't have them. More information about true bugs in general here Feel free to ask questions if I have not been clear.

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