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Dichotomous Keys - Text Format

Keys To Common Families Of Heteroptera (True Bugs)


SUBKEY A: Common Families Of Terrestrial Heteroptera (Terrestrial Bugs)


No. From No. Description Go to Name
1a A short beak tucks into a groove between the front legs
Reduviidae
(Assassin and Ambush Bugs)
1b The beak doesn't tuck into a groove between the front legs 2
2a 1b The front wings have a lacy pattern; the pronotum is pointed at the base
Tingidae
(Lace Bugs)
2b 1b The front wings don't have a lacy pattern; the pronotum is not pointed at the base 3
3a 2b The body is very slender with threadlike legs and antennae
Berytidae
(Stilt Bugs)
3b 2b The body and legs are somewhat broader 4
4a 3b The large scutellum extends at least halfway to the end of the abdomen; the antennae have five segments 5
4b 3b The scutellum extends less than halfway to the end of the abdomen; the antennae have four segments 8
5a 4a The scutellum is usually triangular (if rounded, it does not reach the end of the abdomen) 6
5b 4a The scutellum is rounded at the bottom and almost reaches the end of the abdomen 7
6a 5a The tibiae have strong spines
Cydnidae
(Burrower Bugs)
6b 5a The tibiae don't have strong spines
Pentatomidae
(Stink Bugs)
7a 5b The body is shiny black and < 8 mm long
Thyreocoridae
(Negro Bugs)
7b 5b The body is usually brownish and > 8 mm long
Scutelleridae
(Shield-backed Bugs)
8a 4b The body is extremely flat and rather broad 9
8b 4b The body is not extremely flat and broad 10
9a 8a Wings are present but they do not cover the entire abdomen
Aradidae
(Flat Bugs)
9b 8a Wings are missing
Cimicidae
(Bed Bugs)
10a 8b The tiny bodies are black and white; the clear parts of the front wings lack defined veins
Anthocoridae
(Minute Pirate Bugs)
10b 8b The clear parts of the front wings have some well-defined veins 11
11a 10b The clear parts of the front wings have five or fewer longitudinal veins 12
11b 10b The clear parts of the front wings have more than five longitudinal veins 13
12a 11a The clear parts of the front wings have one or two closed cells; ocelli are missing
Miridae
(Plant Bugs)
12b 11a The clear parts of the front wings do not have closed cells; ocelli are present
Lygaeidae
(Seed Bugs)
13a 11b Ocelli are present 14
13b 11b Ocelli are missing 16
14a 13a The body is often less than 10 mm long and pale in color (sometimes up to 14 mm long and red and black); and does not produce an odor
Rhopalidae
(Scentless Plant Bugs)
14b 13a The body is usually > 10 mm long, dark in color, and produces a strong odor 15
15a 14b The head is narrower than the pronotum
Coreidae
(Leaf-footed Bugs)
15b 14b The head is about as wide as the pronotum
Alydidae
(Broad-headed Bugs)
16a 13b The body is usually dark in color, slender, and less than 11 mm long
Nabidae
(Damsel Bugs)
16b 13b The body is often brightly colored, somewhat broad, and greater than11 mm long 17
17a 16b The upper surface of the pronotum is convex and its sides do not look 'pinched' flat, the underside of the last abdominal segment of the female has a longitudinal slit
Largidae
(Largid Bugs)
17b 16b The upper surface of the pronotum is not convex and its sides look 'pinched' flat, the underside of the last abdominal segment of the female does not have a longitudinal slit
Pyrrhocoridae
(Red Bugs, Cotton Stainers)





SUBKEY B: Common Families Of Aquatic and Semiaquatic Heteroptera (Water and Shore Bugs)


No. From No. Description Go To Name
1a The antennae are shorter than the head and usually concealed 2
1b The antennae are at least as long as the head and usually visible 8
2a 1a The body resembles a small toad; found at the edges of ponds or streams
Gelastocoridae
(Toad Bugs)
2b 1a The body doesn't resemble a toad 3
3a 2b The long cerci form a breathing tube
Nepidae
(Water Scorpions)
3b 2b The cerci are short or missing 4
4a 3b The front femora are enlarged; the body is flat and rather broad 5
4b 3b The front femora are not enlarged; The body is not flat and broad 6
5a 4a The body is less than 16 mm long and oval
Naucoridae
(Creeping Water Bugs)
5b 4a The body is at least 20 mm long and somewhat elongated
Belostomatidae
(Giant Water Bugs)
6a 4b The tarsi of the front legs look like "scoops"
Corixidae
(Water Boatman)
6b 4b The tarsi of the front legs do not look like "scoops" 7
7a 6b The body is at least 5 mm long
Notonectidae
(Backswimmers)
7b 6b The tiny body is less than 3.5 mm long
Pleidae
(Pygmy Backswimmers)
8a 1b The long, narrow body is usually at least 5 mm long; the legs are long and very slender 9
8b 1b The broader body is usually less than 5 mm long; the legs are not extremely long and slender 10
9a 8a The front legs are much shorter than the mid and hind legs; the head is short
Gerridae
(Water Striders)
9b 8a The front legs are about as long as the mid and hind legs; the head is about as long as the front femora
Hydrometridae
(Water Measurers)
10a 8b The body is usually greenish or yellowish
Mesoveliidae
(Water Treaders)
10b 8b The body is usually dark or black and white 11
11a 10b The clear parts of the front wings have four or five closed cells
Saldidae
(Shore Bugs)
11b 10b When wings are present, the clear parts of the front wings do not have four or five closed cells 12
12a 11b The body looks like that of a miniature water strider and is not covered with velvety hairs
Veliidae
(Riffle Bugs)
12b 11b The body does not look like that of a miniature water strider and is covered with velvety hairs
Hebriidae
(Velvet Water Bugs)


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