Difference Between Insects and Bugs (With Table)

Several organisms on earth might look similar but are different from each other. Insects and bugs are examples of these organisms; they have several similarities and therefore can be used interchangeably by arthropods or anyone. This can be correct up to an extent, but sometimes these little mistakes can lead to bigger misunderstandings. Some people study insects and bugs. To them, it is easier to classify.

To avoid misunderstandings, it is important to understand how they can be differentiated. They can be differentiated on the basis of their anatomical differences. And along with this, the following are all possible differences between Insects and Bugs.

Insects vs Bugs

The difference between insects and bugs is that both of them belong to different orders. Bugs are shorter species, while insects are broader species. Both of them have different diets and different mouthparts, bugs have to suck mouthparts and due to this reason they can only have a liquid diet and most of them take it from plants whereas insects have different mouthparts and can have solid and liquid both types of diet from several animals and plants. Another important difference between them is that not both of them perform complete metamorphosis. Only insects are capable of forming it. Bugs cannot perform it completely. Examples of insects are leafhoppers, planthoppers, shield bugs, aphids, whereas bugs are beetle, bee, termite, grasshopper, ant, fly, etc.

Insects belong to the class of Insecta. There are about six to ten million species of insects living on this planet. They are tiny in size and hence, can adapt to any environment easily. Most of them are found in terrestrial habitats. Their body part is consists of the head, thorax, and abdomen. They perform the metamorphosis process completely. They eat many things.

Bugs are fluid animals, as they feed by sucking from plants or some animals. They can be easily found in terrestrial habitats, but they also live under freshwater. There are around ninety thousand bugs on earth. They don’t perform complete metamorphosis. Their life cycle is divided into three stages: egg, larva or nymph, and adult. They have two pairs of wings.

Comparison Table Between Insects and Bugs

Parameters of ComparisonInsectsBugs
SignificanceGroup of arthropods.Certain types of insects
Scientific ClassificationSeveral ordersOrder of Hemiptera
MouthpartsSucking, sponging chewing.Sucking
DietSolid and liquid bothLiquid diet

What are Insects?

Insects are among the most lived organisms on earth. They have lived longer than a dinosaur. They have changed over time a little bit. They are also related to crabs, spiders, scorpions, etc. There are over ten lakhs of insects on earth. They can be easily found on the ground, there is no single place on earth where humans live and where anyone cannot find insects, and the reasons behind this could be following:

  • Wings: wings on their body have helped them to move from one place to another. This also makes them run for their life easier.
  • Adaptations: as mentioned above, they have lived longer than dinosaurs, and this is only possible as they have changed themselves and adapted to the environment. Their physical body has changed a lot during these years.
  • Diet: they can live by eating anything literally. This makes their life easier. They don’t need any particular food for survival.
  • Reproduction: they have a large reproductive capacity, they have lots of babies, and therefore there are more insects on earth.

What are Bugs?

Following are the main types of bugs:

  • Arachnids: they can be recognized by the number of their legs. If there are eight legs of a bug with no wings, it is definitely an arachnid. They can be spiders, scorpions, harvestmen, ticks, etc. they keep their shape as they don’t undergo metamorphosis.
  • Myriapods: they do not have wings and several body segments with a pair of legs. Examples can be centipedes, millipedes, etc.
  • Insects: they have three major segments, the head, the thorax, the abdomen, along with six legs. Most of them perform metamorphosis, and examples of them can be flies, fleas, butterflies, moths, etc.

Following are some interesting facts about different types of bugs:

  • Fruits flies were the first organisms that were sent to space.
  • Dragonflies are among the most lived organisms on the earth. They are believed to be lived more than 200 million years.
  • Caterpillars have more than 10 eyes.

They belong to the Hemiptera, and four suborders of it are, Auchenorrhyncha, Heteroptera, Coleorrhynca, and Sternorrhyncha.

Main Differences Between Insects and Bugs

  1. The difference between bugs and insects is that bugs belong to a certain category of insects, whereas insects belong to a broader category; they are arthropods having jointed appendages.
  2. Both of them can be differentiated based on their scientific classification. Insects belong to different categories of orders as they consist of many subspecies. While bugs are a particular species of insects, they belong to the order of Hemiptera.
  3. They have different mouthparts. In the case of insects, they have sponging, sucking, and chewing mouthparts, whereas bugs have only single mouthparts, i.e. sucking.
  4. They have different diets; this is maybe because of their different mouthparts. Insects have solid and liquid types of diets. They eat plant and animals material, whereas bugs have single mouthparts, and that is the reason they can only have a liquid diet (except one or two bugs that can eat other insects), and most of them feed on plants.
  5. If observed completely, the difference between their wings can be seen. The wings of bugs are different from insects as the front wings of bugs are different in their hind wings. Their front wings are thick while hind wings are thin and clear, whereas both pairs of wings are thin and colored or even clear in the case of insects.


Therefore, with all the above differences, it should be easier to differentiate between insects and bugs. They are confused as they have several similarities such as both of them belong to Insecta class, both of them are haemocelomic, triploblastic, invertebrate along with bilateral symmetry, they belong to the phylum Arthropoda, both of them have two pairs of wings, they have two antennae in the heads and compound eyes, they are mainly terrestrial, they have a chitinous exoskeleton, they have a complete digestive system, they are cold-blooded animals, they occur through Malpighian tubules, their nervous system is composed of the brain, and ventral nerve cord, both of their sexes are separated. Hence, with so many similarities, it is natural to get confused.


  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00018-009-8320-6
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09500690110074765
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