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

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

Your answer to the previous question was that your insect has a flattened body.

Is your insect flattened laterally?

If your insect is flattened laterally (from left side to right side), answer “yes.” To distinguish a laterally flattened insect from a dorsoventrally flattened insect, see the illustration at right.

Click one of the following:

Yes, my insect’s body is flattened laterally.

No, my insect’s body is not flattened laterally.

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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