Saturday, October 13, 2012

True Bugs

Order Hemiptera

True Bugs are distinguished from other insects by the sharp mouth part and partially hard forewing. This order includes shield bugs, assassin bugs, cicadas, aphids, plant hoppers, etc. Some authorities split cicadas, aphids, plant hoppers, scale insects, etc into a separate order (Homoptera). However, we'll follow the following taxonomy:
  1. Suborder Sternorrhyncha (aphids, scale insects, etc)
  2. Suborder Auchenorrhyncha (cicadas, hoppers, etc)
  3. Suborder Heteroptera (true bugs)
  4. The fourth and last suborder, Coleorrhyncha, is not known to exist in Singapore.

Suborder Sternorrhyncha (aphids, scale insects, etc)

Aphids and mealy bugs are pests which feed on plant saps.

Suborder Auchenorrhyncha (cicadas, hoppers, etc)

This suborder consists of 4 superfamilies:
  1. Superfamily Cicadoidea (cicadas)
  2. Superfamily Membracoidea (tree/leafhoppers)
  3. Superfamily Cercopoidea (froghoppers/spittlebugs)
  4. Superfamily Fulgoroidea (planthoppers)

Cicadas (Superfamily Cicadoidea)

Cicadas are the noisy insects of the forests. In Singapore, most of them are drab looking, but sometimes colourful ones can be found too.

Pulau Ubin ©Lau JS

Sungei Buloh. Chinese Garden ©Lau SY

Exoskeleton after moult. A colourful one ©Tan GC

Sungei Buloh: ©Danny Lau. ©Tan KH

Leafhoppers (Family Cicadellidae)

Upper Peirce ©Eddy Lee

©Eddy Lee

Dairy Farm. Phoenix Walk ©Eddy Lee

Treehoppers (Family Membracidae)

Dairy Farm ©Eddy Lee

Planthoppers (Superfamily Fulgoroidea)

Planthoppers are so called because their body resembles the plants they hang out on and the fact that they do hop.

Upper Peirce ©Eddy Lee

Flatid Bug Nymph (Family Flatidae) at Upper Peirce ©Tan KH

Left: Family Ricaniidae. Right: Family Derbidae at Chestnut Trail ©Eddy Lee

Left: Mandai Orchid Garden ©Lau SY. Right: Central Catchment ©Eddy Lee

Suborder Heteroptera (true bugs)

Mattar Road ©Lau SY. Moulting at NTU ©Eddy Lee

Assassin Bugs (Family Reduviidae) are predatory bugs with a long sharp mouth piece.

Ant-snatching Assassin Bug (Acanthaspis petax) and Acanthaspis quadriannulata at Dairy Farm ©Eddy Lee

Yellow Assassin Bug (Cosmolestes picticeps) ©Eddy Lee

Feeding on millipede at NTU. Sycanus sp. at Chestnut Trail ©Eddy Lee

Shield Bugs (Superfamily Pentatomoidea) are characterised by the triangular plate on the back. They are also called Stink Bugs because they give off a stinking smell when threatened.

Giant Shield Bug (Pycanum rubens): Adults. Juvenile ©Eddy Lee

Chestnut Area. Kent Ridge ©Eddy Lee

Rifle Range ©Eddy Lee

A Shield Bug guarding its eggs at Admiralty Park ©Tan KH. Chestnut Area ©Eddy Lee

Squash Bugs (Family Coreidae) look like Shield Bugs.

Squash Bug at Chestnut Trail ©Eddy Lee

Cotton Stainers (Family Pyrrhocoridae) are so called because when they are harvested with cotton, they get crushed and stain the cotton.

Dysdercus decussatus at Sungei Buloh ©Eddy Lee



  1. The second photo shows a Tumbling Flower Beetle.
    The yellow assassin bug is a Cosmolestes picticeps.

    1. Corrected. Let me know if there are other mistakes.

  2. Welcome, I will gladly help out.
    So far you are doing great.