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Insect Identification Key
Suborder Sternorrhyncha of the Order Hemiptera

Scale Insect
These scale insects are Citrophilus mealybugs (Pseudococcus calceolariae). Note the little red spheres on the mealybug in the center of the photograph. Like many other members of this suborder, mealybugs secrete small droplets of fluid when they are disturbed. In this species, the droplets happen to be red. Photo credit: USDA/Q. Holdman.

Based on your answers to the questions, you have identified your insect as being in the suborder Sternorrhyncha of the order Hemiptera!

Members of this suborder include: the aphids, scale insects and whiteflies.

General characteristics:
Some insects in the suborder Sternorrhyncha are winged and others are wingless. In some species, including the scale insects, the males are winged and the females are wingless.

Many members of this suborder don’t look much like insects at all. Some of them resemble tiny trilobites, small pieces of fuzz, or individual scales. See the photos on this page to see some of the diversity within this suborder.

For more information about this and other suborders of the order Hemiptera, click here.

Dozens of aphids are living and dining on this rose bush. Photo credit: Samuel Grant.

Kingdom Animalia
   Phylum Arthropoda
      Subphylum Hexapoda
         Class Insecta
            Order Hemiptera
               Suborder Sternorrhyncha

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

Oops! If this doesn't appear to be the correct identification of 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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