Get to Know True Bugs
All 40,000 species of true bugs share common features.
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