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

Your answer to the previous question was that your insect doesn’t have cerci or cornicles.

Scales
This is an example of scales on an insect. Photo credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Janice Carr.

Is your insect covered with scales, and look like a moth without wings?

To check for scales, look at your insect’s body with a hand lens or a dissecting microscope. The scales will be overlap, just as fish scales overlap. If your insect has this characteristic, it will also have the overall appearance of a moth that has had its wings plucked off.


Click one of the following:

Yes, my insect is covered with scales, and look like a moth without wings.

No, my insect does not have these 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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