Is This Bug True?
All bugs are insects but not all insects are true bugs. Is this cicada a true bug? The answer is complicated.
- A long slender beak-shaped mouth part (proboscis) for sucking liquid food.
- A partially hardened pair of front wings with clear tips and completely clear rear wings shorter than the front ones.
- Few joints in the antennae and feet: antennae about five joints, feet usually no more than three.
But their status is more complicated. These two are true bugs but not true “True Bugs.”
Within Hempitera there’s a suborder of really True Bugs called Heteroptera. Cicadas, planthoppers, spittlebugs, aphids, and adelgids aren’t in this suborder. (See taxonomic chart from bugguide.net below.)
Encyclopedia Britannica says you can recognize Heteroptera by the X shaped design on their backs. Here are three true True Bugs I’ve seen in Pittsburgh this month.
This green and brown shield bug (probably Elasmostethus artricornis) is native to North America. I found several perched on American spikenard in Schenley Park.
The invasive brown marmorated stinkbugs are mating this month. I found this pair at Washington’s Landing.
And finally, I think this is a leaf-footed bug because of the swollen leaf-like segments on his hind legs.
Wondering if a bug is true? It’s a safe bet that it isn’t. Most insects are not, including dragonflies, bees, wasps, grasshoppers, butterflies, moths, flies and fleas.
(photos by Kate St. John)