Bugs: Order Hemiptera
Not all insects are bugs. A bug is a member of the group Hemiptera, of which there are many different forms including aphids, hoppers, scale insects, cicadas and, confusingly, the 'true' bugs.
The one thing all bugs have in common is sucking beak-like mouthparts. Most use this to suck juices from plants but some, such as the assassin bugs, are predators of other animals. There are also scavengers and a few, such as the bed bugs, are parasites of mammals, feeding on their blood. The majority live in terrestrial habitats but there are also specialist aquatic bugs - those that live on water (such as water striders) and those that live under water (such as fish-killers). True bugs are the only group of insects that are found on the open ocean, with seaskaters being found far from land.
- There are around 60,000 known species of bugs worldwide, with many more to be discovered.
- Australia has about 5650 known species but scientists are finding more all the time.
- All bugs undergo gradual development, with the immature stages and adult stage looking very similar to each other.
- Some bugs have transparent wings while others have half leathery, half transparent wings.
- Some plant-feeding bugs like aphids and the Rutherglen Bug are serious agricultural pests.
- Many species are predatory and are beneficial to humans by controlling the populations of pest species.
- Predatory assassin bugs are not aggressive toward humans, but can deliver a painful bite.
For enquiries relating to these insects in the Australian Museum collection please contact the Collection Manager