Hemiptera Insect Fossils - True Bugs
Insect Fossils
Hemiptera Fossil Insects - True Bugs

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Insect Fossils
Of related interest:
Fossil Amber (Resin)


Hemiptera, the true bugs, appeared in Upper Pennsylvannian-time. It is an enormously diverse insect Order believed to contain some 80,000 extant species. Hemipterans have piercing and sucking mouthparts that form an artuculated beak. The two pair of wings are hardened near the body, but membranous towards the ends. While most are herbivores, some are predators, such as bedbugs. An assassin fly in Latin America (cousin to the wheel bug shownAssassin bug, Order Hemiptera above) is a vector for the protozoan that sleeping sickness that kills many people each year.

Hemipterans have incomplete metamorphosis, i.e., they have three stages of life: 1) egg; 2) nymph; and 3) adult. Nymphs appear as miniature versions of the adult except with different coloration. As the nymph progresses through exoskeleton molts, it grows to appear increasingly like the adult both in size and coloration.

Hemiptera means "half wing" owing to the first pair of wings being toughened and hard, while the remainder of the first pair and a second pair are membranous. Some entomologists combine Hemiptera and Homoptera within the group Heteroptera. Other entomologists use the name of the Order Heteroptera rather than Hemiptera.

Gallery of Fossil Hemiptera Images
Uncommon Plant Bug (Family Miridae) in Dominican Fossil Amber
Plant bugs, along with a few near relatives, have the ability to walk on spider webs, allowing them to feed on the spider’s leavings.
Coming from the famous Crato Formation of Brazil, this Cretaceous Hemiptera exhibits incredible 3D preservation. Hemiptera The true bugs possess a stylet by which they secure their food by piercing the skin of other insects or plants to suck fluids.
Coming from the Lower Cretaceous of Liaoning Province, China, this is a member of the Miridae, or plant bugs, the largest family of extant true bugs. This is a fine specimen with incredible detail preserved, particularly in the wings, from the dim past of 125 million years ago. Notice also the piercing mouthparts by which the insect obtained a meal.
A wonderfully preserved water strider (Order: Hemiptera; Family: Gerridae), trapped inside fossil maber from the Andes Mountains of Colombia, South America
Nymphal form of a rare ambush bug in fossil amber. While Hemipterans usually suck plants, the ambush bug, uses its piercing mouthparts to suck the lifeblood from other insects (yecchh!).
This is an incredibly well-preserved, 6 mm long, member of the Order Hemiptera Family Reduviidae, or Assassin Bugs, in Colombian amber. They are also called Resin Bugs, a term given them due to their habit of lurking around resin deposits lying in wait for their favorite prey: stingless bees. The bees come to the resin to gather samples which are used in construction of their nests. The assassin bugs often will attach some sticky resin to their forelegs (see the closeups) much as a wide receiver will apply stickum to catch a football.
Large Cretaceous Giant Water Bug (Belostomatidae) Fossil Insect from Brazil.
A stinkbug in Colombian amber. A member of Family Pentatomidae, Stink bugs are named for excreting a foul smelling substance from a pore on each side of their thorax. These bugs often have symbiotic relationships with bacteria that aid the insect in the production of nutrients.