Bed bugs are the largest detachment among insects with incomplete transformation; more than 40,000 species of half-winged animals have already been described. These insects populated all accessible biotopes of land, from swamps and caves to highlands, they also mastered fresh water, and Halobates water-bugs migrate in the open ocean. The most diverse fauna of bugs in tropical forests, savannas, steppes and deserts. At the same time, among the bugs there are species that go far to the north, living even in the Arctic.
Among the bugs, there are species no longer than 1 mm in length and 10-centimeter water giants of the genus Letercerus (Lethocerus). The appearance and color of the bugs is also very diverse. “Typical” bugs have an oval, to a different extent flattened body, but among the semi-rigid winged bugs there are also quite flat, spherical or rod-shaped. The color of the bugs can be nondescript, gray or brown, or, conversely, bright, even contrasting. Usually brightly colored bugs are inedible for birds and many other predators. Some types of bugs have a smooth body, often with a metallic sheen, while others are covered with hairs or spikes. The mouth organs are stitching-sucking and look like a jointed proboscis extending from the front of the head. The proboscis consists of a lower lip forming a cover for two pairs of narrow ribbon-shaped jaw setae lying inside this cover. The pointed and jagged upper jaws pierce the substrate and become fixed in it, and saliva is injected and food is sucked through two grooves located between the densely closed lower jaws.
According to the peculiarities of food specialization among bugs, one can distinguish herbivorous species, predators, species with mixed nutrition, and hematophagous parasites on vertebral animals. There are a lot of options for herbivore. The most important of them is plant juice nutrition, characteristic of the vast majority of bugs that suck buds, flowers, juicy fruits and seeds, leaves, young and even lignified shoots.
Predatory bugs feed on all kinds of arthropods, and large aquatic predators even attack small vertebrates, in particular fish fry. This group includes all families of aquatic (except rowers), above-water and near-water bugs, and from land - predators, hunter bugs, etc. More exotic sources of plant or mushroom origin include lower algae (row bugs), lichens and mosses (some lace moths), ferns (some horseflies), detritus (red bugs), fungus mycelium (root plants, some horseflies).
Representatives of the family of bed bugs (Cimicidae) feed on the blood of birds and mammals, including humans. In addition, many predatory bugs can pierce human skin.
The proboscis of herbivorous bugs is usually thin, at rest it is densely pressed to the lower surface of the trunk, and in predatory forms it is thicker and shorter, strong, often beak-shaped. In some bugs, the jaw is much longer than the proboscis. For example, bedbugs (Arad>
The nature of feeding in larvae (with some age-related exceptions) and adults is identical, however, the larvae of herbivorous species are more “finicky” - they are more specialized in the choice of fodder plants, in adult bugs the range of food sources is much wider, especially after wintering.
Bed bugs have two pairs of wings, the front ones usually consist of a leathery main part and membranous apex, and the rear wings are entirely webbed. Most bugs fold their wings flat on their backs, hind wings under the front. Only in some, for example, in the water-borne bug of a codfish, the wings are folded roof-shaped (the codfish floats with its back down). Some species are completely devoid of wings, such as a bed bug, while other bugs (pine root) have flying, full-winged and flightless, short-winged individuals. Many bugs fly well, rushing into the light of lamps and windows. Water bugs, often long flights, are needed to find suitable ponds. In summer, these bugs constantly fall on asphalt, car roofs and other shiny surfaces, mistaking them for water. Terrestrial predatory bugs fly in search of prey, others in search of suitable plants or places for laying eggs. Frequent and seasonal flights. Many herbivorous insect bugs (Pentatomidae) and turtle bugs (Scutelleridae) make forest-field flights every spring and autumn. Adult bugs winter in the forest under fallen leaves, after warming the soil to 12–13 ° С they fly off to the fields, new generations of bugs appear and develop there, which, after harvesting, return to the forest for wintering. Sometimes such flights are carried out over distances of hundreds of kilometers.
Female bugs of various species lay eggs on plants or inside their tissues, in soil and on dry plant debris. Fertility of females, compared with many other groups of insects, is low - from several tens to 200-300 eggs (up to 500 for a bed bug). Larvae emerge from the eggs, which are similar to adult bugs both externally and in lifestyle. Larvae and adults of the same species often simultaneously live in the same places (biotopes). Since the bugs are incomplete transformation, the larvae, having passed several (most have five) ages, turn into adult males and females, bypassing the pupal stage. The beginnings of wings appear from the third age. In many predatory bugs, larvae of the first age feed only on plant juices, and they begin to attack prey from the second age. Different types of bugs overwinter at the stage of an adult insect, eggs or, rarely, larvae.
The adaptations of different types of bugs to experiencing adverse conditions are interesting. So, in the absence of a host bed bug can starve up to 1.5 years. In the rainforest under optimal conditions and the constant availability of food, semi-winged birds breed year-round. But in temperate and cold latitudes, they have two problems: a period with low temperatures and, especially in herbivorous species, a period when there are no available food sources. In the steppes and deserts of Central Asia, the cold period is short, however, from the second half of summer, the vegetation dries up and becomes unsuitable for bed bugs. Under these conditions, a mountain bug (= a scapular scutellum) Dolycoris penicillatus feeds and breeds in lowlands in April-May, including in fields of wheat and other cereals, and from the middle of June bugs in mass begin to wander to the foothills. In July, bedbugs fly high into the mountains, to the border of the snow, and in the fall they go down for the final wintering, forming large clusters in placers of stones. In the spring, overwintered bugs again flock to the valleys, where juicy grass has already grown. The accuracy with which this bug predicts wintering conditions is surprising, in the coming warm winters it rises almost to the peaks, and in cold winters it lies at the foot. In this case, the bug should anticipate not only temperature, but also precipitation, so as not only not to freeze, but also not to dry in a numb state.
The characteristic klopin smell is emitted by odorous glands located in adult bugs on food, and in larvae on the upper side of the abdomen. Not all bugs smell, for example, almost all water bugs lack odorous glands. The smell of some bugs is quite pleasant for a person. The meaning of the smell in the life of bugs is diverse: odorous substances scare off enemies, disinfect the surface of the body, and attract individuals of the opposite sex. In addition, sounds are used to attract a partner. The “songs” of rowers are accessible to human hearing, many shieldmen communicate with each other through the substrate with vibrations and knocking, like prisoners in cells.