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For educational purposes:--

Information on the basics of Entomology


Introduction                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Contents


Entomology:  HEMIPTERA 1

Kingdom:  Animalia, Phylum: Arthropoda

Subphylum: Hexapoda: Class: Insecta: Order: Hemiptera



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Pteragota:  Paurometabola

  Order:  Hemiptera (12 Families)

    General Summary

    Families of Hemiptera

      Land Forms








      Non-land Forms






Additional Families


Biological Control Projects

    References      Citations



   Sample Examinations


General Summary of Hemiptera


          Hemiptera, meaning "half-wing", are the true bugs that include many species that are destructive to agricultural crops.  DNA evidence has shown a close relationship to the Homoptera, so that the old classification under one group, Heteroptera, may eventually be reinstated.


          They have one-half of their wings leathery and rough, while the other half is membranous and soft.  They are called hemelytra.  Sometimes the leathery wings may be reduced or absent.  There is a rather large scutellum.  Metamorphosis is simple as the nymphs have the same form as adults except for the lacking wings.


          The mouthparts arise from the front of the head and they possess true sucking mouthparts whereas other insects that suck have modified mouthparts.  Their beak usually has 3-4 segments.  Plant feeding species suck plant juices whereas predatory species suck blood from their hosts.



          The legs are typically the running type, equipped for rapid movement.  Predaceous species have specialized forelegs for grasping.  Some species have legs modified for rowing.




Families of Hemiptera


          The families of Hemiptera can be divided into Land forms and Non-land forms depending on whether they are terrestrial, aquatic or merely inhabit the water surface.  Some of the most common species are discussed and additional information on <Habits>, <Adults> and <Juveniles> is included when available.


Land Forms of Hemiptera


          Pentatomidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- The true stinkbugs are one of the largest families in the order with a worldwide distribution.  They are especially predominant in the tropics.  In North America many species are crop pests where they are very destructive to alfalfa seed.  The Say's Plant Bug is a green alfalfa feeder.  All feed on herbaceous plats, sucking juices.  There is one predaceous subfamily.



          These insects are flattened, shield-shaped insects, 1/4 - 1/2 inch long usually.  Many species have beautiful colorations, especially in tropical areas.  Antennae are 5-segmented, from which the family derives its name (Penta tomidae)




          Coreidae. -- Leaf footed bugs include the squash bug and box elder bug.  This is a moderately sized group whose species have well developed scent glands, which open on the sides of the thorax.  These give off a distinctive odor when handled.  All are plant feeders and injurious to cucurbits and to some fruit crops.  Some are a nuisance as household pests.



          Some coreids are brightly colored that often collect in great numbers on trees and shrubs.  The box elder bug in Western North America can cause a nuisance from the swarms that frequently occur.



          Lygaeidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- The "chinch bugs" belong to this family, which includes some brilliantly colored and large species (e.g., milkweed bug).  Extremely injurious they prefer to feed on seeds such as cereals, especially wheat, and have been serious pests in Central North America.  The main symptom of injury is a wilting and death of grain, especially maize.  There are some predaceous species.



          Their size ranges from 1/4 to 3/8 inches long.  The antennae have four segments.  There are only four of five veins in the wing.  In cold climates they overwinter in clumps of grasses as adults.  Adults migrate to grain fields in springtime and eggs are laid in the boot of the plants.  They will emigrate to maize as nymphs, which cannot fly but must walk.


          The False Chinch Bug will feed on most wild plants in Western North America but will invade herbaceous crops if present.  Overwintering is usually in the nymphal stage.




          Miridae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- The plant bugs, Lygus spp. is a large family with over 5,000 species known.  They feed primarily on plant juices and many are economic pests, and a few are predaceous.



          They are fragile insects with drab to brilliant coloration.  The wing has a unique appearance with two small cells, and the scutellum has a triangle on its back.


          Mirids are very active and can run and fly very rapidly.  Several species have taken up residence with ants.  They injure a wide variety of crops and are especially important on alfalfa seed production, cotton, clover, celery and various fruits.  Both nymphs and adults feed mainly on the newly developed parts of plants and distort any fruit that might form.  In Western North America they rank as one of the most important economic insects.


          Overwintering is in the adult stage.  There are approximately four generations per year, with 20-30 days per generation. 




          Reduviidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- These are the assassin bugs and kissing bugs.  Their beak lies back between their legs in a groove called the stridulatory groove.  When the beak is rubbed against the groove a squeaking sound is produced.



          All members of this family are predaceous and bloodsuckers.  The group has very harmful aspects, as some species are important medically as vectors of very serious human diseases.  In tropical America Chagas Disease, caused by trypanosomes is vectored by assassin bugs.  Their bite is very painful due to their toxic saliva.  They may even enter dwellings to feed upon bed bugs and other insects.




          Nabidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- Damsel bugs are small, 3-11.5 mm in length, slender with their front femora somewhat enlarged.  They are all predaceous and feed on many different kinds of insects.   Their color varies from yellow to brown with well-developed wings.





          Cimicidae. -- These are the bedbugs, which possess no wings in any stage of development.  They are flattened insects that enable them to squeeze into fine crevices.  They are blood feeders that favor tight areas, under belts, etc.  Of the more than 45 species known, most feed upon birds, some upon bats and two species upon humans.



          Bedbugs are nocturnal insects and occur only where their hosts are present.  They require several meals of blood to complete their life cycle, and when blood is unavailable they can stretch their life cycle.  Some people develop a terrific rash while others are rather insensitive.  There has been no disease associated with Cimicidae, but because of their severe annoyance a quest for control led to the development of Rotenone as an insecticide.




          Tingidae. -- These are lace bugs, whose body's dorsal surface shows a very find network of veins, which gives it a delicate lace pattern.  The immature stages differ from the adult in possessing many spines.



          All species are plant feeders, preferring to reside on the undersides of leaves.  Some form galls on the leaves and many cause some defoliation.


Non-land Forms of Hemiptera


          For a long time this group was believed to be ancestral to land, but this has now considered false.  Certain predatory forms inhabit a shore or littoral environment.  Many species are able to spend only a part of their life in water.  Some are able to live on the water surface.


          Special modifications have enabled them to exist in aquatic environments.  They have developed special breathing apparatus, some lost the predatory habit and feed only on plants, and some have had their legs modified so that they do not sink into the water itself.




          Belostomatidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- Giant water bugs have a flattened form facilitates movement.  Most are brownish and leathery in appearance and are found in quiet water or in streams.  Their front legs are modified for the predatory habit, and they are very aggressive and active swimmers.  Insects, frogs and fish are included in their diet.



          Belostomatids have the habit of feigning death when captured, and they can inflict painful bites.


          Their eggs are laid on vegetation or glued to objects in water, usually in masses containing up to 100 eggs.  Oftentimes the female lays eggs on the back of the male.  The glue is water insoluble.


          In the water they breathe by means of a breathing tube.  Retractile appendages at the end of the abdomen lead to spiracles on the 6th abdominal segment.  Air reservoirs are also present.


          They have nocturnal flight habits and are attracted to light.  They can be a nuisance in tropical areas when they infest buildings.




          Notonectidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- The backswimmers have a keel-shaped appearance somewhat like a boat.  They swim up side down.  They rest on water, their legs extended as oars that have fringes of hairs, which allow them to propel themselves rapidly.  These insects are difficult to capture as they are very agile and dive rapidly into the water.  They inhabit streams and lakes.  Some species are brightly colored.  They suck the juices of plants and will travel long distances to water.





          Gerridae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- Water striders have long slender legs.  Body hairs repel water and their claws have been reposition from apical to pre-apical so that the surface film of the water is not broken.  The hind legs are for steering, while the front legs are held under the head and shorter then the rest.  They hold their prey with their front legs, and pierce and suck out the liquid contents.



          Tropical members of this insect group exist in the marine habitat and can be found a few hundred kilometers out at sea.




          Mesoveliidae. -- Water Treaders occur on floating vegetation at the edges of pools or ponds or on logs that project from water.  They can run rapidly over the water surface.  Their size ranges up to only 5 mm in length.  They are slender insects and usually green or yellow in color.  Adults may be either winged or wingless.  They are all predaceous on small aquatic organisms that occur near the surface of water.





          Corixidae. -- Water boatmen are very widespread and probably the most abundant of the Hemiptera.  Different species prefer certain kinds of water.  They have a very interesting wing pattern, which is black and white with a barred effect.  Their size is 1/4 to 3/4 inches in length, and their coloration is protective.  Their legs are modified for rapid movement in water.  Ent91


          This is the only aquatic group that is not predaceous, as it feeds on algae with some exceptions.  The larvae also feed on minute vegetable material by scooping it into their mouths.  They have spatulate tarsi.  Some may feed on mosquito larvae.  They are short-lived insects.  Specialized masticating structures are present.


          Many corixids are very active at night.




Additional HEMIPTERA Families


Anthocoridae <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

Enicocephalidae <Habits>; <Adults> &<Juveniles>

Gelastocoridae <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

Naucoridae <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

Nepidae <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

Ochteridae <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

Phymatidae <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

Saldidae <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

Vellidae <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>




Hemiptera --Biological Control Projects (1% of total projects)



              Green Vegetable Bug, Nezara viridula (L.) <ch-58.htm>



Details of Insect Taxonomic Groups


          Examples of beneficial species occur in almost every insect order, and considerable information on morphology and habits has been assembled.  Therefore, the principal groups of insect parasitoids and predators provide details that refer to the entire class Insecta.  These details are available at <taxnames.htm>.







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