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Order Hemiptera - The True Bugs
Shortlegged Strider Water Boatman Creeping Water Bug
The True Bugs. A group of insects with their mouth modified into a piercing sucking tube. While the majority of insects in this group are terrestrial, there are quite a few types that have both aquatic larvae and adults.

General Life cycle - The life cycle of water bugs exhibits incomplete metamorphosis. This means that there is not much change between the larval and adult versions of the bug. The larvae are often times called nymphs. The adult stage is usually the overwintering stage. Some overwintering Hemiptera go into a dormant state while others may be active. Most adults have wings and many are capable fliers. Water bugs can be found submerged in the water, skating on it's surface, or along the margins and shores. Those found submerged usually do not leave the water except for dispersal flights. Submerged types often have legs modified into paddle like limbs for swimming. Many water bugs are predacious and have modified front legs for capturing and grasping prey.

Identification - Some water bugs may seem to be similar to adult beetles, however a close look at the wings and mouth parts will quickly distinguish them. The fore wings of water bugs overlap in the back half, unlike a beetle in which the wings meet along the midline. In addition the posterior portion of the wings is often membranous, in beetles the entire fore wing is a hard shell like covering. Some water bugs have forms that either do not have wings as adults or have partially formed wings as adults. This makes it confusing to determine the stage (adult or nymph), but, as stated earlier, other features often help identify the particular group of Hemiptera. The water bugs can be broken down into two main groups, the Cryptocerata which have small, hidden antennae; and the Gymnocerata which have longer, easily visible antennae. As a general rule the Cryptocerata are swimmers, living primarily in the water. The Gymnocerata tend to be crawlers or skaters living on the shore or surface of the water.

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