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The result where Hemiptera was found to be non-monophyletic is likely due to phylogenetic artifacts, such as elevated substitution rates in Sternorrhyncha compared with the other suborders of Hemiptera.The defining feature of hemipterans is their "beak" in which the modified mandibles and maxillae form a "stylet" which is sheathed within a modified labium.Both herbivorous and predatory hemipterans inject enzymes to begin digestion extraorally (before the food is taken into the body).These enzymes include amylase to hydrolyse starch, polygalacturonase to weaken the tough cell walls of plants, and proteinases to break down proteins.The cladogram is based on one analysis of the phylogeny of the Paraneoptera by Hu Li and colleagues in 2015, using mitochondrial genome sequences and homogeneous models.It places the Sternorrhyncha as sister clade to the Thysanoptera and the lice, making the Hemiptera as traditionally understood non-monophyletic.
The nymphs moult several times as they grow, and each instar resembles the adult more than the previous one.
The beak is usually folded under the body when not in use.
The diet is typically plant sap, but some hemipterans such as assassin bugs are blood-suckers, and a few are predators.
They live in a wide variety of habitats, generally terrestrial, though some species are adapted to life in or on the surface of fresh water.
Hemipterans are hemimetabolous, with young nymphs that somewhat resemble adults.