Saturday, August 13, 2011

Celebrating Insect Diversity Week: True Bugs!

When is an insect not a bug?

Well, that depends. Believe it or not, all bugs are insects but all insects are not bugs.


We throw around the word "bug" too loosely, like kleenex or google. Bugs are actually a specific order in the class of insects: Hemiptera, meaning half wings. Most of them have what looks like a shield on their backs, that helps me to visually separate them from other insects like beetles. Sometimes, people or books will also include the order Homoptera in the True Bugs category, which includes cicadas, aphids, and others.

Although you probably won't go looking for it, they also have a rather sophisticated proboscis, which they use to suck plant juices. That's why the most infamous member, the Stink Bug, smells kinda cabbagey when it's squished. There are actually dozens of different kinds of Stink Bugs, not just the brown ones invading our homes lately.

Here's a collection of Bugs we've seen recently:

Wheel Bug nymph
(took us forever to identify, finally found it in the Kaufman guide)

Wheel Bug Adult, from my deceased found bugs collection
(yes, I collect bugs, only if they're already dead and in good condition)

unidentified Stink Bug

 Leaf Footed Bug (Acanthocephala sp.)

Stink Bugs and nymphs

*As always, don't hesitate to correct me on something I may have misidentified, I'm at the mercy of my Id books, currently Kaufman's, Audobon's, and NWF.

*Also don't forget you can click on the above photos to enlarge, if your browser allows.


  1. Hi Julie, I would like to help identify your Stinkbug. His name is Otis. I see him hanging around that tramp Suzie Stinkbug all the time.

  2. Hi Julie,
    Have not seen a wheel bug nymph or adult before, very handsome!
    I have not had time to ID my dragonflies for tomorrow unfortunately. Thanks for participating all week, I'm glad you like insects as much as I do.