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

Flattened insects
Some insects are have flattened bodies. If an insect is viewed head-on, as shown in the illustration, a laterally flattened insect will be noticeably taller than it is wide and a dorsoventrally flattened insect will be noticeably wider than it is tall. Illustration credit: Leslie Mertz.

Your answer to the previous question was that your insect does not have two or three long, tail-like appendages.

Does your insect have a flattened body?

This question is asking whether your insect is flattened laterally (from left side to right side) or flattened dorsoventrally (from top to bottom). If your insect is flattened either laterally or dorsoventrally, answer “yes.”


Click one of the following:

Yes, my insect has a flattened body.

No, my insect does not have a flattened body.


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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