Bugs

Hemiptera. Spanish: Chinches. Portuguese:

Percevejos.

In English, the term "bug" has a precise meaning for insects of this order, in addition to its general application to all kinds of small insectoid creatures. The origin of the word is obscure. Theories suggest that it comes either from the Old English or Welsh bwg, meaning a goblin or ghost, or from the Arabic buk, a longstanding and widespread name for the infamous bedbug, Cimex lectularius (Usinger et al. 1966: 5).

True bugs (Weber 1968) are all recognizable by their mouthparts, which are modified for sucking fluids, such as plant sap, nectar, and insect or vertebrate blood. There are two pairs of sclerotized, flexible stylets (modified mandibles and maxillae) lying in a groove in a one- to four-segmented labium. Together, these structures form a proboscis, always arising on the front of the head but flexible and when not in use, projecting toward the posterior between the forelegs.

There are two suborders, separated most evidently by wing structure. The first is the Heteroptera ("uneven wings"), with fore wing divided midway into two areas of radically different textures: a basal thick and rigid part and an apical papery and flexible portion. This type of wing is referred to as a hemielytron and is characteristic of the heteropterans. The other suborder is the Homoptera ("uniform wings"), which have homogeneous, diaphanous, or parchmentlike fore wings. Be cause it is a widespread habit of the Homoptera to produce waxy secretions from integumentary glands, I use the convenient and appropriate common name "wax bugs" here. Wings are partially or totally absent in many members of both suborders, especially among animal and plant ectoparasites or forms with secluded life-styles.

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