FSC Bugs AIDGAP covers the families of adults of bugs in Britain and Ireland. It is designed for use with unprepared specimens at low magnification.
What is a bug? In everyday usage the word ‘bug’ has several meanings, from a micro-organism (‘tummy bug’) to a problem in a computer program. But to entomologists a bug is a member of the order Hemiptera. For this reason the Hemiptera are called ‘true bugs’, although this term is more often reserved for the Heteroptera, one of the suborders of Hemiptera. Overall this can be very confusing! So in this key the term ‘bug’ means a member of the order Hemiptera.
There are over 1600 species of hemipteran in Britain and Ireland, ranging in size from less than a millimetre to forty millimetres in length. They have mouthparts in the form of a rostrum, sometimes called a beak. Bugs feed on fluids, which may be of plant or animal origin.
This guide is part of the FSC’s AIDGAP series (Aids to Identification in Difficult Groups of Animals and Plants). Our AIDGAP guides are accessible identification keys, suitable for non-specialists from age 16+. As with all guides in the series, the Bugs AIDGAP underwent extensive testing before publication, by beginners and specialists alike. The author has revised this, the first published version, in the light of the testers’ experience.
Accurate identification of specimens is an important part of biological fieldwork. Since 1976, the AIDGAP project has published over 40 straightforward and clearly written identification keys to many different groups of plants, animals and other taxa. In many cases the AIDGAP volume is the only non-technical work covering the group.