Bug vs. Insect

  • By reComparison Contributor
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Difference between Bug and Insect

Truth is… it is not uncommon to find people that are not able to tell a bug from an insect. This is because there is a very thin line between the two and it takes knowledge and a keen eye to spot the difference. The prerequisite for knowing the difference between the two is to act on the desire to seek out the truth.

Both are very small creatures in the animal kingdom but play vital roles in the entire eco-system as a whole. Physiologically, they both have several appendages and some of them have the ability to fly.



An insect is part of the arthropod family with very unique qualities. First of all, their exoskeleton has a chitin and the body is divided into three parts namely; the head, thorax and the abdomen. They have three pairs of legs that are jointed. The pair of antennae on their head serves as the sensory organ together with the compound eyes. Their legs are six and are segmented. Not all insects have wings, but for those that have wings, they are either two or three in number.

On the other hand, a bug is actually an insect in the order of Hemiptera. It consists of cicadas, plant hoppers, aphids, leaf hoppers, shield bugs and many other more. On average, they are between 1 millimeter and 15 centimeters in length. Bugs have no specific number of segmentation attached the body. Their mouth parts are usually specialized for sucking and known as proboscis. They are usually hardened and can even pierce through plants.

Life Cycle

Insects undergo two types of life cycles. It can be either complete or incomplete metamorphosis. In the case of incomplete metamorphosis, the insect simply undergoes molting. It molts once it outgrows its exoskeleton. For complete metamorphosis, the insect undergoes a four-part cycle. It begins with the egg or embryo, then the larval stage, then pupa stage and completes with the adult or imago stage. In the former stages, it does not look like the adult form.

Bugs do not undergo metamorphosis. The bug simply undergoes a three part life cycle. These are: egg or embryo, nymph and then the adult. The nymph looks much like the adult.

Similarities and Differences

  • Both bugs and the insects are part of the animals but are very minute in comparison with others.
  • Insects’ bodies are usually made up of three body parts but the bugs have no specific number of segments.
  • The insects undergo metamorphosis, either complete or incomplete. The bugs however do not undergo metamorphosis.

Which group includes your most annoying pest?
  • Bug
  • Insect

Discuss It: comments 4

  • Guest
  • okekeobyno wrote on January 2011

on that bugs is a lie bugs undergoes incomplete metarmorphosis so go and improve pls on that bug pls am on my knees so that u wont confuse more people

  • Guest
  • Geoff wrote on June 2013

Not all bugs do. Ladybugs do not undergo metamorphosis

  • Guest
  • tempestborn wrote on September 2017

crickets look exactly the same all their lives; they just get bigger. so generally, they only partially metamorph.

  • Guest
  • Fat Cat wrote on April 2020

Bugs are a type of insect. Bugs fall under the species Hemiptera. A type of insect! But bugs and insects also fall under the same class, Insecta. Fun fact!

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