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Insect Identification Key
Superorder Dictyoptera

Based on your answers to the questions, you have identified your insect as being in the superorder Dictyoptera!

Orders within this superorder include: Mantodea, the mantids; Blattaria, the cockroaches; and sometimes Isoptera, the termites (see Classification Note below)

Etymology: Dictyoptera comes from the Greek diktuon, which means net, and ptera, which means wings. This refers to the numerous intersecting veins in their wings, which gives them a “net-veined” or “net-winged” appearance.


Kingdom Animalia
   Phylum Arthropoda
      Class Insecta
         Superorder Dictyoptera
            • Order Blattaria
            • Order Mantodea
            • Order Isoptera? (see note below)

For a list of all of the orders in this key, click here: List of Orders.

Classification note: Some authorities include the order Isoptera in the superorder Dictyoptera, and some do not. Occasionally, you may see the superorder Dictyoptera described as an order with Blattaria (sometimes called Blattodea), Mantodea and/or Isoptera listed as suborders within it. Most classifications, however, list Dictyoptera as a superorder.

Oops! If this doesn't appear to be the superorder for your insect, go back through the key and look more carefully at your insect while answering the questions again. Your perseverance will reward you!

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Photos at the top of this website are (from left to right): potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) — photo credit: Scott Bauer, U.S. Department of Agriculture; ebony jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata)— photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; sweat bee (Agapostemon splendens) — photo credit: Natalie Allen and Stephanie Kolski, U.S. Geological Survey; preying mantis, monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), hellgrammite (aka toe biter) larva and eyed click beetle (Alaus oculatus) — photo credit: Leslie Mertz; Halloween pennant (Celithemis eponina) — photo credit: Kay Meng, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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