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Insect Identification Key

Crossvein comparison
Notice the difference in the number of crossveins in these two photos. The top wing has numerous crossveins, which create small “windowpanes” in the wings. In this case, they are especially noticeable along the wing edges. The bottom wing has few crossveins. Top photo credit: ¬©entomart. Bottom photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Bill Buchanan.
Identify Insects in Michigan ... and beyond!

Your answer to the previous question was that your insect does not have the following set of characteristics: slim and rather moth-like, with long, hair-like antennae and silky hairs that cover its wings and body..

Does your insect’s wings have a small number of crossveins, or no crossveins at all?

Look at your insect’s wings and find the main veins, which travel lengthwise along the wings. In addition to these main veins, some insects have numerous crossveins, which are tiny veins that usually run perpendicular to the main veins. These crossveins create little “windowpanes” in the wing.

If your insect’s wing has no crossveins, or very few, your answer is “yes.&rdquo If your insect has too many crossveins to easily count (more than a dozen), your answer is “no.&rdquo

Click one of the following:

Yes, my insect has a small number of or no crossveins.

No, my insect has many crossveins.


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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