Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bugs and Bug-like Things, Part 2

In the previous post I introduced the hierarchy of scientific names that apply to bugs.  I spoke of Insects as belonging to Class Insecta (of Phylum Arthropoda), and that the class is divided into Orders.  Beetles belong to Order Coleoptera.  The so-called "true bugs" belong to the Order Hemiptera.  So, in the restrictive sense, beetles are not true bugs, but they are certainly bugs as far as non-scientists are concerned.  Virtually all the Orders of Insects end with the suffix -ptera that means "wings."  We won't get much more technical than that here, but suffice to say that beetles usually always have hard covers over their wings like the familiar Ladybird Beetles, and the huge Pine Borer in the top photo above.  True Bugs, or Order Hemiptera, usually always have a more or less shield-shaped back with wings that are somewhat hardened at the base and softer and more membranous further away from the base.  The second photo above is a Red Milkweed Bug which is a true bug in the Order Hemiptera.  By the way, the harder wing covers of the beetles must move aside to allow the softer membranous flight wings to spread for flight.  Most people have seen this happen with one kind of beetle or another.  In the next post, I'll include a number of photos of beetles and true bugs.

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