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The Kid Should See This

What qualifies as a “bug”?

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“When someone says, ‘hey, look at this weird bug!’ they’re usually referring to an insect… you know, a six-legged exoskeleton-clad creature that has at least one pair of wings at some point in its life. To an entomologist, someone who studies insects, bugs are a subgroup of insects; the 8% or so that make up the order Hemiptera.

“You can tell these 80,000-ish species of so-called ‘true bugs’ apart from other insects by the straw-shaped beaks they use to stab their food, inject fluids to dissolve it into a nutritious liquid, and slurp out the tasty meal…”

can we use "bug" colloquially?

“But here’s where it gets confusing – just because a species has ‘bug’ in its common name does not mean it’s a true bug in the scientific sense…”

Ladybugs? Pill bugs? Not actual bugs. Common colds and software glitches? Definitely not actual bugs. True bugs include cicadas, aphids, planthoppers, leafhoppers, shield bugs, bed bugs, and assassin bugs.

true bugs
Combine entomology, the branch of zoology concerned with the study of insects, with etymology, the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history, then add Carl Linnaeus into the mix, with this video from Cameron Duke at MinuteEarth.

the history of "bugs"
Watch these related videos next:
• This Is Not A Bee
• A simple way to tell insects apart: Look at their mouthparts
• A praying mantis, beetles, and other insects take off in slow-motion
• Why (and how) do spittlebugs make bubbles?
• Walking popcorn or planthopper nymph?
• Why are cicadas so loud? Entomologist Dr. Samuel Ramsey explains


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