Cimex lectulariusbed bug

Geographic Range

Cimex lectularius has been found on all continents except Antarctica. It is absent in large areas of east Asia due to the fatal effects of males of a different species, Cimex hemipterus, mating with C. lectularius.


Cimex lectularius is common in both tropical and temperate habitats. Temperature is important in their lives; hatching, nymphal development, and adult activity all occur between 13 and 15 degrees celsius.

Physical Description


A male can mate with one or more females more than once in a day. Males do not recognize females from a distance, and they may try to mate with other males, dead females and a piece of cork shaped like a bed bug. Males that have starved longer than two weeks do not mate, and females who have not fed recently are not ready for mating. Males puncture female's body wall and inject sperm into her abdomen. The egg is asymmetrical in shape and has pink eye spots. Most of the egg's surface is faintly reticulate, especially near the cap end.


Cimex lectularius concentrate in harborages in cracks or other protected places in houses or roosts of chickens or other birds when they are not feeding on their host. They cluster on surfaces that are dry and rough, such as wood and paper, rather than stone, plaster, metal or textiles. They avoid wet surfaces. Cimex lectularius appear to wander aimlessly and with long pauses when they move.

Food Habits

Cimex lectularius is primarily parasitic on man. They also live on bats, chickens, pigeons, other birds, and labratory animals. Originally, Cimex lectularius infested bats. When they are not feeding on their host they usually remain in their nests or in cracks in rooms or roosts. They usually react negatively to light, but they will feed in daylight when hungry.

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Cimex lectularius have been suspected to transmit desease in humans and bats, but in most cases this has not been verified. Controlling bed bugs has been a challenge to people for centuries.

Conservation Status

Bedbugs are not threatened, they persist in human and animal populations throughout the world.

Other Comments

The number of species subsumed under the name Cimex lectularius is uncertain. Characters that suggest that more than one may be present include the HW/3rd antennal ratio, bristle length, paramere ratio, and number of supernumerary X chromosomes. Cimex lectularius have been known to humans since the beginning of recorded history and have played a role in folklore, pharmacopoeia, and literature.


Maija K. Schommer (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.



living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.

World Map


living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

World Map


living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.

World Map


living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.

World Map


living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


an animal that mainly eats meat


Found in coastal areas between 30 and 40 degrees latitude, in areas with a Mediterranean climate. Vegetation is dominated by stands of dense, spiny shrubs with tough (hard or waxy) evergreen leaves. May be maintained by periodic fire. In South America it includes the scrub ecotone between forest and paramo.


having a worldwide distribution. Found on all continents (except maybe Antarctica) and in all biogeographic provinces; or in all the major oceans (Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific.

desert or dunes

in deserts low (less than 30 cm per year) and unpredictable rainfall results in landscapes dominated by plants and animals adapted to aridity. Vegetation is typically sparse, though spectacular blooms may occur following rain. Deserts can be cold or warm and daily temperates typically fluctuate. In dune areas vegetation is also sparse and conditions are dry. This is because sand does not hold water well so little is available to plants. In dunes near seas and oceans this is compounded by the influence of salt in the air and soil. Salt limits the ability of plants to take up water through their roots.


animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.

World Map


an organism that obtains nutrients from other organisms in a harmful way that doesn't cause immediate death


rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.

scrub forest

scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.


living in residential areas on the outskirts of large cities or towns.


Coniferous or boreal forest, located in a band across northern North America, Europe, and Asia. This terrestrial biome also occurs at high elevations. Long, cold winters and short, wet summers. Few species of trees are present; these are primarily conifers that grow in dense stands with little undergrowth. Some deciduous trees also may be present.


that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).


Living on the ground.


the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.


A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.


living in cities and large towns, landscapes dominated by human structures and activity.


Usinger, Robert L. 1966. Monograph of Cimicidae. Entomological Society Of America, Maryland.

Hickman, Cleveland P., and Larry S. Roberts. 1995. Animal Diversity. Wm. C. Brown Publishers, Boston. pages 206,208.

Accessed (Date Unknown) at

Accessed (Date Unknown) at