digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















The Heteroptera are a group of about 40,000 species of insects in the order Hemiptera. Sometimes called "true bugs",[1] that name more commonly refers to the Hemiptera as a whole, and "typical bugs" might be used as a more unequivocal alternative since among the Hemiptera, the heteropterans are most consistently and universally termed "bugs". "Heteroptera" is Greek for "different wings": most species have forewings with both membranous and hardened portions (called hemelytra); members of the primitive Enicocephalomorpha have completely membranous wings.

The name "Heteroptera" is used in two very different ways in modern classifications; in Linnean nomenclature, it commonly appears as a suborder within the order Hemiptera, where it can be paraphyletic or monophyletic depending on its delimitation. In phylogenetic nomenclature, it is used as an unranked clade within the Prosorrhyncha clade which in turn is in the Hemiptera clade. This results from the realization that the Coleorrhyncha are just "living fossil" relatives of the traditional Heteroptera, close enough to them to be united with that group.

The Gerromorpha and Nepomorpha contain most of the aquatic and semiaquatic members of the Heteroptera, while nearly all of the remaining groups that are common and familiar are in the Cimicomorpha and Pentatomomorpha.


The use of the name "Heteroptera" has had the rank of order, dating back to 1810 by Latreille. Only recently has it been relegated to a subsidiary rank within a larger definition of Hemiptera, so many reference works still include it as an order. Whether to continue treating it as a suborder is still a subject of some controversy, as is whether the name itself should ever be used, although three basic approaches ranging from abolishing it entirely to maintaining the taxonomy with a slight change in systematics is proposed, two of which (but not the traditional one) agree with the phylogeny. The competing classifications call for a preference for two suborders versus one when the "living fossil" family Peloridiidae is taken into consideration:

In one revised classification proposed in 1995,[2] the name of the suborder is Prosorrhyncha, and Heteroptera is a rankless subgroup within it. The only difference between Heteroptera and Prosorrhyncha is that the latter includes the family Peloridiidae, which is a tiny relictual group that is in its own monotypic superfamily and infraorder. In other words, the Heteroptera and Prosorrhyncha sensu Sorensen et al. are identical except that Prosorrhyncha contains one additional infraorder, called Peloridiomorpha (comprising only 13 small genera). The ongoing conflict between traditional, Linnaean classifications and nontraditional classifications is exemplified by the problem inherent in continued usage of the name Heteroptera when it no longer can be matched to any standard Linnaean rank (as it falls below suborder but above infraorder). If this classification succeeds, then the "Heteroptera" grouping may be discarded, but in that case it is likely that no ranks will be used at all according to the standards of phylogenetic nomenclature.

In the traditional classification,[3] the Peloridiidae are retained as their own suborder, called Coleorrhyncha; "Heteroptera" is treated the same. Functionally, the only difference between this classification and the preceding is that the former uses the name Prosorrhyncha to refer to a particular clade, while the traditional approach divides this into the paraphyletic Heteroptera and the monophyletic Coleorrhyncha. Many believe it is preferable to use only one name because the characteristics of the two traditional suborders are too closely related to be treated as separate.

Alternatively,[4] the modified approach of placing Coleorrhyncha 'within' the Heteroptera can be used. Indeed, as that solution preserves the well-known Heteroptera at the taxonomic rank they traditionally hold while making them a good monophyletic group, it seems preferable to the paraphyletic "Heteroptera" used in older works. In that case, the "core" Heteroptera could be considered a section – as yet unnamed, mainly because the Prosorrhyncha were proposed earlier – within the "expanded" Heteroptera, or the latter could simply be described as consisting of a basal "living fossil" lineage and a more apomorphic main radiation. Whether the name "Coleorrhyncha" is to be retained for the basal lineage or whether the more consistent "Peloridiomorpha" is used instead is a matter of taste, as described below.

Separate from the question of the actual "closeness" of Heteroptera and Coleorrhyncha is the potential disruption to traditional construction of names; there seems to be reluctance among hemipterists to abandon the use of "Heteroptera". This can be seen by the name itself, as it is a violation of convention to use the ending "-ptera" for any rank above genus other than an order – though since it is a convention rather than a mandatory rule of Linnean nomenclature, taxonomists are technically free to violate it (which is why, for example, not all insect orders end in "-ptera", e.g., Odonata). However, in most cases when such conventions are violated, it does not create an internal conflict as in the present case (that is, the order Hemiptera has a suborder named Heteroptera, which is an internal conflict). At least some hemipterists argue that the name Heteroptera should be dropped entirely to eliminate this internal conflict, though the third possibility offers a workaround. In that case, to achieve full consistency of names "Coleorrhyncha" would probably be dropped in favor of "Peloridiomorpha".

An assassin bug nymph (Zelus sp.)

Selected families of Heteroptera[edit]

Heteropteran anatomy[edit]

Generalized morphology of a shield bug Pentatomoidea

A: head; B: thorax; C: abdomen. 1: claws; 2: tarsus; 3: tibia; 4: femur; 8: compound eye; 9: antenna; 10: clypeus; 23: laterotergites; 25: pronotum; 26: scutellum; 27: clavus; 28: corium; 29: embolium; 30: membrane.


"Waterbug" is a common name for a number of aquatic insects, most of which are classified in the infraorders Gerromorpha and Nepomorpha of the order Hemiptera. The latter infraorder contains those taxa that were once known as the "Gymnocerata". Note that the term "water bug" is very often applied to some cockroaches, which are not true bugs and as Dictyoptera not even close to them (true bugs are Paraneoptera).

Selected families of water bugs[edit]


  1. ^ Tree of Life Web Project (2005): Heteroptera. True bugs. Version of January 1, 2005. Retrieved July 28, 2008.
  2. ^ Sorensen, J. T., B. C. Campbell, R. J. Gill & J. D. Steffen-Campbell (1995): Non-monophyly of Auchenorrhyncha ("Homoptera"), based upon 18S rDNA phylogeny: eco-evolutionary and cladistic implications with pre-Heteropteroidea Hemiptera (s.l.) and a proposal for new monophyletic suborders. Pan-Pacific Entomologist 71 (1): 31–60.
  3. ^ Maddison, David R. (1995): Tree of Life Web ProjectHemiptera. True bugs, cicadas, leafhoppers, aphids, etc.. Version of January 1, 2005. Retrieved July 28, 2008.
  4. ^ Cassis, Gerasimos & Gross, Gordon (1995): Australian Biological Resources Study – Hemiptera: Heteroptera (Coleorrhyncha to Cimicomorpha). Gerrids, Reduviids, Water-striders. Version of June 30, 1995. Retrieved July 28, 2008.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heteroptera — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

178 news items

Discover Magazine

Discover Magazine
Mon, 02 May 2016 10:43:33 -0700

“True bugs” are limited to the order Hemiptera — nitpicky types would limit them to the suborder Heteroptera — which, of the above, includes only bedbugs. 2. Some biting non-bugs do more than just bite. Female botflies, for example, attach their eggs ...

Daily Star

Daily Star
Wed, 27 Apr 2016 09:52:30 -0700

Hundreds of the photographs of the heteroptera bugs, which release a disgusting smell when squashed, have been posted on social media and internet forums. Netizen Evgeny Epishev said: "They are everywhere. Our entire apartment block is full of them, ...


Tue, 08 Dec 2015 09:13:16 -0800

Cornelia Hesse-Honegger zeichnet und malt Insekten und Kleintiere. Weltweit bekannt wurde sie mit ihren Bildern von deformierten Wanzen, lateinisch: Heteroptera. Nach der Reaktorkatastrophe von Tschernobyl machte sie über das Zeichnen ...

Entomology Today

Entomology Today
Wed, 23 Dec 2015 07:45:00 -0800

A few months ago here at North Dakota State University's Systematic Entomology Laboratory, we named an insect Planois smaug after J. R. R. Tolkien's famous creature Smaug the Dragon. We chose that particular name because the specimens of Planois ...

News Italiane

News Italiane
Sat, 09 Apr 2016 04:11:49 -0700

Appartenenti alla famiglia cosmopolita di piccoli insetti dell'ordine dei Rincoti Heteroptera i Cimicidae comunemente chiamati cimici si trovavano proprio tra le lenzuola del letto all'interno della camera in cui il turista, un uomo di nazionalità ...


Tue, 10 Nov 2015 04:21:06 -0800

Bedbugs are small, flat, parasitic insects that bite the skin of sleeping humans or animals in order to feed on their blood. Wingless and reddish-brown in color, bedbugs range in size from 1 to 7mm and hide in places such as mattress seams, headboards ...

Entomology Today

Entomology Today
Fri, 19 Jun 2015 06:52:30 -0700

Last year I wrote about some interesting scientific names that have been given to insects, and about why entomologists choose such names. Now we can add a new one to the list, this one based on J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle Earth novels, which have ...
Entomology Today
Tue, 07 Jul 2015 02:11:15 -0700

The bagrada bug, Bagrada hilaris, is a species of stink bug that was introduced into North America in 2008. It feeds on plants of the mustard family and can cause severe feeding damage to cruciferous crops, including cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight