Classify Insects Zoom in on True Bugs
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Get to Know True Bugs
All 40,000 species of true bugs share common features.

True Bugs

Top row left to right: Orectoderus obliquus, Megalopsallus ephedrae, Megalopsallus nigricaput, Orectoderus obliquus

Bottom row left to right: Undescribed species of the group Pilophorini from South Africa, Belostoma flumineum (giant water bug), Brachymera hoppingi (stink bug), Gerris marginatus (water strider)

True bugs all have these features:

  • Special mouthparts for feeding on the “juice” of green plants, or in some cases, animals.

  • Saliva that contains chemicals called enzymes that break down solid food into liquid.

  • Stink glands that provide defense, help attract bugs of the same species, and support interspecies communication.

When they hatch, true bugs look like smaller versions of the adult form; they do not go through complete metamorphosis.

Photo © The American Museum of Natural History
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