Hemiptera usually have four wings folded flat over the body. There is often a visible triangle at the center of the back that the wing bases do not cover called the scutellum. The front pair are thickened and leathery at the base with membranous tips or ends. Mouthparts are formed for piercing and sucking and the beak arises from the front part of the head.
They are found on plants and animals, or in water. Some true bugs cause considerable plant damage by their feeding. Some are beneficial because they prey on other insects. A few bite humans on occasion.
Metamorphosis is gradual, with immatures usually quite like the adults but wingless. Most are under 1/2-inch long but some forms especially aquatic ones may be over 2 inches long.
See Hemiptera for all listings in this order.