Ontogeny: Bed Bugs
Biology 342 Fall 06
Development of the bugs
Although they have been a documented pain in the rear since at
least the 17th century, not much is known about the life stages of bed
bugs except for that they require frequent blood meals to transition
from stage to stage. The males end up being slightly bigger than the
females, with their most notable feature being a spinelike intromittent
organ that seems to have evolved specifically for reproduction.
There are five juvenile stages known as nymphs, which are miniature versions of the adults in appearance. Each nymphal stage requires at least one blood meal to moult to the next stage and it takes 5-10 minutes for complete engorgement to occur. The entire nymphal development takes 6-8 weeks, while the adult bed bugs can live on average for 6-12 months. All nymphal stages and adults of both sexes require blood for nutrition and development.
females still develop a normal reproductive area which they use for
oviposition. However, the males do not use this area for reproductive
purposes, although they probably once did.