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Insect Identification Key
Identify Insects in Michigan ... and beyond!

Insects have many types of antennae
This set of photos shows some of the diversity of insect antennae. A) long, segmented antennae; B) plumose antennae; C) short antennae; D) antennae arising from the end of a long snout. Photo credits: U.S. Department of Agriculture A) flea beetle, Aphthona flava; B) sugarcane borer moth, Diatraea saccharalis (William White); C) silverleaf whitefly, Bemisia argentifolii (Scott Bauer); D) cotton boll weevil, Anthonomus grandis.

NOTE: Almost all immature insects are wingless. This key does not cover immature insects. If you carefully go through this key and cannot identify your wingless insect, it may be an immature insect. Identifying immature insects takes practice, and as you become more adept at identifying adult insects, you will develop an eye for many immature insects as well.

Your answer to the previous question was that your insect has no wings.

Does your insect have antennae?

Antennae arise from the head. They come in many different forms. Depending on the type of insect, the antennae may be long and obvious; short and inconspicuous; or somewhere in between. Some antennae are plumose, or featherlike. Some are clubbed, which means each antenna has a small knob or thickening at the tip. Some are long and hair-like. Some are elbowed, which means they have a bend. Some look like combs. To see some of the different types of antennae, click here.

Look closely before saying your insect doesn’t have antennae — they may have slid under the head and be lying along the underside of your insect, or they may be very small. In addition, especially rough handling of an insect may cause the antennae to pop off, so be careful!

Click one of the following:

Yes, my insect has antennae.

No, my insect does not have antennae.

I would like to return to the start of this key.

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Unless noted otherwise, photographs on this website are the property of the photographers and may not be reused without written permission from the photographers. To obtain permission, email the photographers here. High-resolution versions of the photographs are available.

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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