Monday 28 February 2022

Minibeast Monday - Bugs, True Bugs, and the Hemipteroid Assemblage


Let us clear up a bit of confusion. What, exactly, is a bug? In general terms it is used to denote any minibeast with legs, particularly in American English. To a naturalist, however, a bug is something more specific. Welcome to the Hemipteroid Assemblage. This is an umbrella group of insects containing Lice, Booklice, Thrips and a large group of mainly sap sucking insects called the Hemiptera often referred to as the True Bugs, although this term is also used for the sub-group Heteroptera.

The Hemiptera is a very diverse looking group of insects (some of which don't even look like insects at first glance) which includes such things as Psyllids, Cicadas, Scale Insects, Aphids, Moss bugs and Leafhoppers. 

It also includes the HETEROPTERA, which are more typically 'bug like' in appearance. The picture below shows the three groups that you are most likely to come across when you're out and about but there are also four other groups:

  • Enicocephalomorpha includes Unique headed bugs, Gnat bugs

  • Dipsocoromorpha includes Jumping ground bugs

  • Gerromorpha includes Water striders, Water measurers and Velvet water bugs

  • Leptopodomorpha includes Shore bugs, Spiny shore bugs

As you can see, this is a huge group of insects with well over 80,000 species to find including many that are extremely beautiful when seen up close. The great majority, being sap suckers, are completely harmless to humans. Photographing them in the wild is a lot easier if you have a sweep net!

(Click pic for details)

It is also extremely useful if you have a guide book. The insects that make up the Hemipteroid assemblage, and how to identify them is covered in pages 18-23 of my Quick Guide To Creepy-Crawlies.  

(Click pic for details)

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