True Bugs - Order Hemiptera, Suborder Heteroptera

This page contains pictures and information about True Bugs that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.

True bug couple 

The insects in Order Hemiptera are extremely diverse in size, shape and colour. They have one common characteristic: their sucking mouths. They are incomplete metamorphosis and their young, the nymphs, look much the same as their adults except smaller and wingless.

True Bugs are in Suborder Heteroptera. They usually have flat and soft bodies. Their forewings are toughen on the base area and with a membranous tip part. Their antennae are well developed with up to five segments. Most of them are from small to medium size. Most species of true bugs have stink glands. These glands usually give off a foul odor when the insect is disturbed. All of them suck juice from plants or other insects.

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True bug 1st instars 

When bugs just hatched from eggs as 1st instars, they usually stay around their eggs cases. In general the1st instars nymph bugs do not feed when they first emerge. They spend some time ingesting bacteria which the female deposited on the eggs when she laid them. The bug have to liquefy the food with saliva first before they can feed on it.

Classification :

There are about a hundreds families in the Suborder Heteroptera. We manage to find some and listed as follows;

Family Gerridae - Water Striders
Bugs in this family are long legs and skate rapidly on water surface. They are predators of other insects.
Family Belostomatidae - Giant Waterbugs
Giant Waterbugs are sometimes known as Fish-killer Bugs. They hunt tadpoles, water insects and small fish in flash water. 
Family Gelastocoridae - Toad Bugs
Bugs in this family are known as Toad Bugs. They live near the water. They have widen femur of front legs which make it a good swimmer. Toad bugs are predacious. They hop but cannot fly. 
Family Notonectidae - Backswimmers
This water bugs swim un side down with bottom facing upwards, so their common name Backswimmers. They propel with hind pair of long legs. They are fast swimming predators. They swim under water but often come up surface to breath. 

Family Miridae - Mirid Bugs
Some bugs in this family feed on plants only while many others feed on small soft body insects and insect eggs. Some species feed on both. They are usually yellow, green brown or black in colours, though some are colourful. Some are ant mimics.
Family Tingidae - Lace Bugs
We found one species in this family. The bug was introduced into Australia to control the Lantana weeds.
Family Reduviidae - Assassin Bugs
All Assassin bugs are predators. They prey on all small animal such as snails, insects including caterpillars, spiders and other arthropods. Their bit can be painful. The antennae of Assassin Bugs are four segmented and about the same length as the body. Their legs are very long.

Superfamily LYGAEOIDEA

Family Rhyparochromidae - Seed Bugs
We found one species in this family. The bug is mimicking the black ant.
Family Lygaeidae - Seed Bugs, Milkweed Bugs, Chinch Bugs 
Members in his family have their forewings with 4-5 veins. The front section of their forewings is slightly harden and the back section membranous. They are usually brown to red in colour. They are from 4 to 20mm long, with oval shape and flattened body. Their antennae are four segmented. 
DSC_6184.jpg (225259 bytes)Family Geocoridae - Big-eyed Bugs 
Bugs in this group have very big eyes and they are commonly called Big-eyed Bugs. They have either elongate, elongate-ovoid or oval body. They are seed feeders but also known to be predaceous. This geocorids were put as the subfamily of the Lygaeidae. They are raised to family level in 1997.
Family Oxycarenidae - Coon Bugs
We found one species in this family. The bugs are small in size. Their back is triangular-patterned in black and white colours. We found them on our hibiscus plants on early spring. The nymphs are black in colour with blood-red abdomens. 


Family Largidae - Largid Bugs
This is a very small bugs family. Largid bugs are general feeders, sucking juices from a variety of plants. They are close to family Lygaeidae. They are from 4 to 20mm long, with oval shape and flattened body. We only found one species in this family.
Family Pyrrhocoridae - Cotton Stainers
Bugs in this family mainly feed on Malvaceae, including cotton. We found only one species in this family. They have the red and black head, red eyes and pink to orange body, with a small black dot on each forewing.

Superfamily COREOIDEA

Most coreoids have a series of longitudinal parallel veins in the membrane of the fore wings and have ocelli, which distinguish them from lygaeids above.
Family Coreidae - Tip Wilter, Leaf Footed Bugs, Squash Bugs
Quite a number of bugs in this family can easily be found in Brisbane. They look similar and some are hard to be identified. They are mostly from 10 to 25mm in body length. Their forewings have many veins and their heads are narrower and most often shorter than pronotum. Their antennae are four segmented.
Family Alydidae - Broad Headed Bugs
Alydids have large broad triangular head, nearly as wide as the thorax. Their bodies are relatively slender. They have long antenna and long legs. Some of them feed on fallen pods from Acacia trees and pods of other trees. Some species their nymph mimic ants.
Family Rhopalidae - Leptocoris bugs
We only found one species in this family. The bug has bright red eyes and red abdomen. Its thorax and front wing covers are reddish-brown in colour. Its legs and antenna are black in colour. The last instars looks similar to the adult bugs except their wings are not fully developed.


Family Pentatomidae - Stink Bugs
Bugs in this family will emit a pungent, evil-smelling liquid if disturbed. Their antennae are 5-segmented. Their body are usually in shield-shaped. Stink bugs are distinguished from other bugs by their triangular scutellum which is well extended to cover half of their back. Their legs are thin and with no spines.
wpe1C.jpg (21297 bytes)Family Scutelleridae - Shield Backed Bugs
Bugs in this family are usually colourful with metallic colour of spots. Shield-backed bugs are plant suckers. They can be distinguished from other bugs by their scutellum completely covered the whole abdomen and wings. This family are closely related to stink bugs and also produce offensive odors when disturbed.
Family Tessaratomidae
Family Tessaratomidae is a small family very close to Family Pentatomidae. All members in this family look like pentatomid except they are large and with very small head. Like the Stink Bugs, they will also  will emit a pungent, evil-smelling liquid if disturbed. We only found one species in this family.

Here are some Bugs that we can not identify yet. Please help.



1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, pp 479.
2. Plant Bugs - Dr Murray Fletcher, PRIMEFACT 508, NSW DPI, May 2007.
3. 半翅目 Order Hemiptera(True Bugs) -  六足王國─台灣的昆蟲 Insects of Taiwan, 2008.

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Up ] Family Gerridae ] Family Belostomatidae ] Family Gelastocoridae ] Family Notonectidae ] Family Tingidae ] Others ]


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Last updated: March 10, 2012.