Sunday, 31 May 2015

A Bug's Life ...

Another world ...

True bugs, collectively known as Hemiptera, are one of the major orders of insects found in the UK, currently comprising nearly 2000 species. The Hemiptera is split into a number of suborders.

The Heteroptera includes what most people know as the characteristic bugs, including shieldbugs, squashbugs, ground bugs, stilt bugs, assassin bugs, damsel bugs, lacebugs, plant bugs and all water bugs. The Auchenorrhyncha contain the leafhoppers, planthoppers, froghoppers, treehoppers and cicadas. We then have the Sternorrhyncha, which includes insects commonly referred to as psyllids (all of which are in the superfamily Psylloidea) together with aphids, phylloxerans, scale insects and whiteflies. A fourth suborder, the Coleorrhyncha, contains the moss bugs or beetle bugs, though these are not represented in the UK.

All have piercing mouthparts with which they can suck the juices from plants or animals - usually plants. Their mouthparts are contained in a beak, known as a rostrum, which is usually held underneath the body when not in use.

The above images depict an adult Dock Bug (Coreus marginatus) and a mating pair of Hairy Shieldbugs (Dolycoris baccarum). Both species are common and widespread in southern Britain.

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