Hemiptera – True bugs, cicadas & aphids
The piercing bugs – bugs with an x-factor!
The Hemiptera have a unique feeding tube, “stylet”; making them the VIPs (very important piercers) in the insect world!
Piercing-sucking mouthparts are used to feed on plant sap, insects, or other small invertebrates. Their feeding habits range from herbivory to predation, including ectoparasitism and blood-feeding.
One of the key visual characteristics that set Hemiptera apart is their wings, which form an X shape when they are at rest, and their wings do not overlap. This wing configuration is a distinguishing feature of this order.
Hemiptera undergo incomplete metamorphosis, a type of development that includes nymphal stages resembling miniature versions of the adults. This unique life cycle differentiates them from insects with complete metamorphosis, like butterflies and beetles.
Fossil records indicate the presence of early Hemipterans dating back to the Carboniferous period, roughly 300 million years ago, highlighting their ancient lineage and enduring presence on Earth.
However, in the modern world, factors such as climate change, expanding palm oil plantations, and intensified agriculture are contributing to the reduction of Hemipteran diversity. This decline has significant implications for environmental health, as these insects play crucial roles in various ecosystems.