What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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    • Antennal flagellum in form of an annulate or segmented arista (Fig. 30.31A), pedicel may be heavily sensoriated (Fulgoroidea) (Fig. 30.37F); hind tibiae and tarsi with saltatorial spines, often with pecten at apices of tibiae and tarsi, and spines on tibial shaft (Fig. 30.31B-D)(Fig. 30.37A-E);wing venation usually well developed (Fig. 30.4E-H)(Fig. 30.5A); phytophagous AUCHENORRHYNCHA .
    • Antennal flagellum not aristoid, pedicel never heavily sensoriated; spines, if present on hind tibiae and tarsi, predominantly apical (Psylloidea) or predominantly on tibial shaft (e.g. Cydnidae) or insects parasitic or aquatic; wing venation simple or reduced 2
  2. (1)
    • Insertion of labium remote from prosternum (Fig. 30.1C,D); fore wings, if present and fully developed, usually held flat over abdomen when at rest, with apices widely overlapping (Fig. 30.47); often in the form of hemelytra, with a basal, sclerotised corium and an apical membrane (Fig. 30.62)(Fig. 30.73); sometimes hyaline, with raised, reticulate venation (Fig. 30.46)(Fig. 30.61); sometimes elytriform (Fig. 30.53C) vannus and vannal fold present in hind wing (Fig. 30.5B-D); scent glands usually present,and usually opening ventolaterally on metathorax (Fig. 30.3) (Fig. 30.7A); antennae maximally 5-segmented, tarsi maximally 3-segmented; predacious and aquatic groups common, with legs adapted for predation and swimming HETEROPTERA .
    • Insertion of labium near to or between prosternum (Fig. 30.18)(Fig. 30.19)(Fig. 30.21)(Fig. 30.22)(Fig. 30.23)(Fig. 30.24); mouth-parts may be absent or vestigial (some Coccoidea, Aphidoidea); fore wings, if present, fully developed, usually held roof-wise, never truly flat, over abdomen, never strongly overlapping, of uniform texture, without sharp differentiation into a coriaceous base and a membranous apical area; not with raised, reticulate venation; Never elytriform (Fig. 30.4A-D); vannus and vannal fold absent from hind wing (Fig. 30.4D); antennae maximally 16-segmented; tarsi maximally 2-segmented; very rarely predacious or aquatic STERNORRHYNCHA.

Sternorryncha superfamilies & Aleyrodoidea families

  1. (3)
    • Wings present 3
    • Wings absent 5
  2. (2)
    • Antennae 3–6-segmented, the apical segment usually differentiated into a more slender terminal part (processus terminalis); basal tarsal segment small; pair of dorsolateral abdominal pores or tubules (siphunculi) usually present; fore wing with composite vein parallel to costal margin, ending in a pterostigma; RP usually arched; M and Cu obliquely oriented; hind wing usually with 1 longitudinal and 2 oblique veins (Fig. 30.4D); 3 ocelli present APHIDOIDEA
    • Antennae 7–10-segmented, with 1–2 apical setae; tarsal segments subequal in size; siphunculi absent; wing venation not as above; 2 or 3 ocelli present 4
  3. (3)
    • Fore wings of harder consistency than hind wings; both M and Cu usually branching once, peripheral veins and clavus present (Fig. 30.4A) (Fig. 30.4B); antennae usually 10-segmented; 3 ocelli present; without vasiform orifice or large paired, ventral abdominal wax glands; body not wax dusted (Fig 30.15) PSYLLOIDEA (pt., adults)
    • Fore wings membranous with reduced venation (Fig 30.4C) ; antennae 7-segmented; 2 ocelli present; abdomen dorso- subapically With vasiform orifice (Fig 30.17E) and usually with pairs of large wax glands on some sternites; body, including wings, often completely wax-dusted (Fig 30.17F) ALEYRODOIDEA - Aleyrodidae (pt., adults)
  4. (2)
    • Legs and antennae present; tarsi usually bearing 2 claws; with compound eyes or 3-lensed eyes or both 6
    • Legs and antennae present or absent; tarsi 1-clawed or absent; eyes 1- or 2-lensed, or absent 7
  5. (5)
    • Antennae 1–6-segmented, the apical segment usually differentiated apically into a more slender part (processus terminalis); tarsi usually 2-segmented, the basal segment small; with 2 empodial hairs; paired siphunculi, varying from pores to tubules, commonly present dorsolaterally on abdomen; eyes either compound, each with a 3-lensed ocular tubercle (triommatidion) appended to posterior margin, or triommatidia only present; circumanal pore rings absent (Fig 30.18) (Fig 30.19) APHIDOIDEA (pt., apterous adults)
    • Antennae 1–10-segmented, processus terminalis absent; tarsi fused with tibiae or 1-segmented, and each often with a well- developed arolium; eyes compound; circumanal pore ring(s) present; may be protected by a test or ‘lerp’ (Fig 30.15) (Fig 30.16A-D) PSYLLOIDEA (pt., nymphs)
  6. (5)
    • An operculated anal fossa (vasiform orifice) present dorso- subapically on body; body sessile, scale- or casket-like, often wax-producing, legs and antennae reduced (Fig 30.17C-F) ALEYRODOIDEA - Aleyrodidae (pt., nymphs of instars II–IV, puparia)
    • Vasiform orifice absent, though other perianal apparatus may be present; body may be coccoid, scale-like, wax-or scale- producing, gall-forming, legs and antennae often reduced and sessile (Fig 30.21) (Fig 30.22)(Fig 30.23) (Fig 30.24)(Fig 30.25) COCCOIDEA (pt., female female)
  7. (1)
    • Tarsi 1-clawed; alate male male with fore wings reduced to halteres, (Fig 30.25A), or apterous male male or female female. COCCOIDEA (pt., male male, some female female)
    • Tarsi usually 2-clawed; apterous APHIDOIDEA (pt., some sexuales)


psylloidea families

    • Vena spuria present in fore wing, continuous with M3+4 and meeting RP (Fig 30.15C); male with conspicuous dorsal processes on subgenital plate Carsidaridae
    • Vena spuria absent; subgenital plate without dorsal processes 2
  2. (1)
    • Fore wing veins R, M and CuA arising at or near same point; pterostigma and costal break absent (Fig 30.4B) Triozidae
    • Fore wing veins M and CuA with distinct common stem; pterostigma or costal break present or absent 3
  3. (2)
    • Fore wing vein RP short, terminating close to RA and pterostigma; pair of prominent dorsal processes on metapostnotum; on Ficus Homotomidae
    • Fore wing RP long, terminating at or near to apex of wing; metanotum without prominent processes; on various hosts 4
  4. (3)
    • Veins RP and M1+2 meeting at one point to give an X-formation Phacopteronidae
    • Fore wing not as above 5
  5. (4)
    • Hind coxal spur (meracanthus), absent or small and blunt; male proctiger bipartite; anteorbital lobes (Fig 30.15B) present or absent 6
    • Meracanthus present and apically pointed (Fig 30.15E); male proctiger unipartite; anteorbital lobes absent 8
  6. (5)
    • Anteorbital lobes absent; hind coxae very weakly developed; fore wing vein CuA 2-branched, RP and M1+2 either partially fused or linked by cross-vein r-m Anomalopsylla, Psyllidae
    • Anteorbital lobes usually present; hind coxae strongly developed; CuA once-branched, RP and M1+2 not linked 7
  7. (6)
    • Meracanthus absent; male proctiger with short apical segment. Nymphs with distinct abdominal segments (Fig 30.15D); abdominal lanceolate or sectasetae and circumanal pore rings absent Psyllidae (lerp-building SPONDYLIASPIDINAE)
    • Meracanthus, if present, small and rounded; male proctiger with apical segment at least half as long as basal segment. Nymphs with caudal plate (fused abdominal segments); lanceolate or sectasetae present marginally on abdomen; circumanal pore rings present (except Platyobria) Psyllidae (free-living SPONDYLIASPIDINAE)
  8. (5)
    • Anal break and apex of claval furrow of fore wing usually near to apex of CuA2 (Fig 30.4A); basal hind tarsal segment usually with 2 spines; basal half of proximal segment of aedeagus curved Psyllidae (ACIZZIINAE et al.)
    • Anal break and apex of claval furrow of fore wing distant from apex of CuA2; basal hind tarsal segment without spines; basal half of proximal segment of aedeagus straight Calophyidae


aphidoidea families

    • Parthenogenetic female female viviparous (red-eyes of embryos usually visible through integument, or their curled stylets in macerated specimens); sexual female female oviparous. Antennae 4–6-segmented; usually, apical segment with well-delimited processus terminalis; 1 primary rhinarium basal to processus terminalis and 1 subapically on penultimate segment; other (secondary, adult) rhinaria present in most alatae and some apterae, usually concentrated on segment III. Eyes of apterae compound or 3-facetted. Siphunculi and cauda usually present. If apterae discoid and coccidiform, and antennae, triommatidia, labium, tarsi, siphunculi reduced or absent, then subanal plate bilobed. Fore wings: RP mostly present, M simple or 1- or 2-branched.
    • Hind wings mostly with 2 oblique veins (Fig. 30.4D)(Fig. 30.18)(Fig. 30.19A_C). Sexuales (with some exceptions) normal-sized, rostrate Aphididae
    • All females oviparous. Antennae of (parthenogenetic) apterae very short, 3-segmented, with 1–2 rhinaria; of alatae 3- or 5-segmented, with 2–3 rhinaria; processus terminalis not or hardly delimited. Eyes of apterae 3-facetted. Siphunculi absent, cauda not evident. Subanal plate simple. Fore wings: RP absent, M simple. Hind wings with 0–1 oblique veins. Sexuales small, larviform, the sexual female laying only 1 egg 2
  2. (1)
    • Antennae of apterae 3-segmented, with 2 rhinaria; of alatae 5-segmented, with 3 rhinaria. Wings held roof-like in repose; CuA1 and CuA2 of fore wing separate; hind wing with 1 oblique vein.
    • Ovipositor present (Fig. 30.19F). Sexuales rostrate. On conifers Adelgidae
    • Antennae of apterae 3-segmented, with 1 rhinarium (Fig. 30.19D); antennae of alatae 3-,
    • rarely 4-segmented with 2 rhinaria (Fig. 30.19E). Wings held flat over abdomen in repose; CuA1 and CuA2 of fore wing united basally; hind wing without oblique veins. Ovipositor absent (present in 1 extra-Australian species). Sexuales arostrate. On deciduous, dicotyledonous trees and vines Phylloxeridae

Interactive Keys

An interactive key to Heteroptera is now available. This key was written by Professor Gerry Cassis (University of New South Wales) and Michael Elliot (Australian Museum). We are grateful to the Australian Museum for providing access to the original data files.

A key to Auchenorrhyncha can be found on the New South Wales (NSW) Department of Primary Industries website. This key was written by Dr Murray Fletcher.

A key to Coccoidea can be found on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website, as an Indentification Tool for Species of Quarantine Significance.


Dichotomous keys from The Insects of Australia (Second Edition, 1991) have been provided until interactive ones to the remaining suborders are ready. These keys are presented as they originally appeared; no attempt to update them or the classification has been made.