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

Your answer to the previous question was that your insect does not have the following set of characteristics: tiny in overall size, and tarsi with two or three segments.

Dorsoventrally flattened with shield-like pronotum
All of the insects in this illustration have a dorsoventrally flattened body with a head that is at least partially covered by a shield-like pronotum. Figure D shows how the pronotum extends forward so that only part of the head is visible from above, and also shows the flatness of these insects. Illustration credit: USDA/Robert E. Snodgrass, Insects: Their Way and Means of Living, figure 49, 1930.

Does your insect have a dorsoventrally flattened body, and a head that is partially or completely covered by a shield-like pronotum?

A dorsoventrally flattened body is flat from top to bottom. The pronotum is the front section of the thorax. A shield-like pronotum will look like a large, armor-like cap that extends forward over at least part of the head. See the illustration.


Click one of the following:

Yes, my insect has a dorsoventrally flattened body, and a head that is partially or completely covered by a shield-like pronotum.

No, my insect does not have this set of characteristics.


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, DailyGraceCards.com; Halloween pennant (Celithemis eponina) — photo credit: Kay Meng, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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