Bugs (Hemiptera)

Greek "hemi" (half) + "ptera" (wings)
The Hemiptera are called "true bugs" and include bed bugs, cicadas, stink bugs, water striders, leaf hoppers, and aphids. They have two pairs of wings. In suborder Heteroptera, the fore wings are thick at the base and membranous at the tip, and the hind wings are much shorter and membranous; the thick fore wings do not meet in a straight line down the back like beetles, but rather they cross over one another. In suborder Homoptera, most have membranous or uniformly textured wings that fold tent-like over the body at rest. Some are wingless. True bugs have long mouthparts for piercing and sucking. Some bugs eat plants, others are predators and eat smaller arthropods, still others, like bed bugs, are parasites on birds and mammals including humans. The true bugs live in a variety of habitats: underground, in the soil and in water, both fresh and salty.

click for enlargement
Dock Bug
© 2004 Henk Wallays
click for enlargement
Saddled Leafhopper
© 2006 Joyce Gross
click for enlargement
Cixiid Planthopper
© 2004 Joyce Gross
click for enlargement
Blue-green Sharpshooter
© 2004 Dr. Larry Jon Friesen
click for enlargement
Giant Water Bug
© 2004 Joyce Gross
click for enlargement
Harlequin Bug
© 2004 Joyce Gross

Quick ID

  • Mouthparts for piercing & sucking
  • Wings often crossed over each other
  • Forewings half thick, half membranous
  • Hindwings smaller & membranous

More information about Hemiptera

University of California, Berkeley    Berkeley Natural History Museums
Copyright © 1995-2010 UC Regents. All Rights Reserved.
Last updated: Jan 2, 2017