What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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The velvet water bugs or sphagnum bugs are represented in Australia by only 2 genera and 5 species. They are very small, from 1-4 mm and are rarely encountered.

Hebrids prefer moist habitats such as moist litter or vegetation alongside water, as well as the edges of the water surface itself. They prey on other small arthropods or scavenge on their remains. Observations of Hebridae feeding on plant material are now interpreted as prey searching behaviour within the vegetation.

Eggs are attached to moss or algae and the newly hatched nymphs may take around three weeks (at 19 degrees C) to develop to maturity.


The small Australian fauna all belongs to the subfamily Hebrinae. Merragata hackeri , is found from the Northern Territory down to the east coast of Victoria. The genus Hebrus is represented by 4 species found in northern and eastern Australia.

  • Hebridae (Heteroptera)