True Bugs

True bugs belong to the order Hemiptera, which includes cicadas, leafhoppers, shield bugs, stink bugs, aphids, scale insects, backswimmers, water striders, and others. Technically, these are the only insects that are truly “bugs.” Some terrestrial true bugs can be important agricultural pests, although others are beneficial insects. Some aquatic true bugs are also well known, particularly the water strider. In aquatic environments, true bugs are a very important and particularly voracious group of predators. One of their favorite foods is mosquito larvae and adults, which should earn them some respect.

The name Hemiptera (hemi = partial; ptera = wing) describes the wings of adult true bugs; the basal half of each wing is tough and leathery, and the tips are membranous and fragile. The wings are very distinct and cross over each other in a scissor-like way. Another unique feature of Hemiptera is their modified, piercing mouthpart called the rostrum or beak. They use their beak to pierce prey (or plant material), inject digestive enzymes, and suck out food.

The Xerces Society has profiled the status of two rare shore bugs that historically occurred in Oregon, the hairy shore bug and the Harney hot spring shore bug.

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True Bugs

The Xerces Society • 628 NE Broadway Ste 200, Portland OR 97232 USA • tel 855.232.6639 • fax 503.233.6794 • info@xerces.org
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