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The Truth About Bugs

Today, on a Moment of Science--The Truth About Bugs.

In common everyday language, most people use the term "bug" to describe anything from a spider to a computer virus. However, the word "bug" does have a scientific meaning.

You see, all bugs are insects, but not all insects are bugs. Insects have six legs and three body parts. This means that spiders aren't even insects--they have eight legs and two body parts. Also, true bugs have sharp mouths for poking holes in their plant or animal hosts and sucking out the juice.

However, mosquitoes, contrary to poplar belief, are not bugs. Another factor that comes into play is the fact  that baby true bugs look like small wingless versions of adult true bugs. A larva, or a baby mosquito looks nothing like the adult it will eventually become. Also, while not all true bugs have wings, there are those that do have specially structured wings. They're thick and leathery near the bug's head, and filmy and translucent at the tips. In contrast, mosquito wings are entirely translucent.

After reading this you might find true "bugs" to be pretty rare. But in all actuality there are 35,000 known species of true bugs, including stinkbugs, water bugs, and my personal favorite, the bedbug.

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