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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: antennae that are small and hard to see; long narrow wings; and a long slim abdomen.

Smoky wings, long thorax, cercil
This insect has the characteristics described in the question: a fairly long thorax (and a rather large space between each pair of legs), smoky-colored wings, and the tips of two small cerci poking out from beneath the wings at the rear end of the insect. The pictured insect is a male of the species known as Saunders' embiid Oligotoma saundersii. Photo credit: S. Dean Rider, Jr.

Does your insect have a fairly long thorax , two small cerci at the end of its abdomen, and smoky-colored wings?

Look for the cerci at the tip of the abdomen. In some insects with this feature, one cerci may be a bit larger and/or may have a different shape than the other.

Check the length og hte thorax. Since each pair of legs arise from one segment of the three-segmented thorax, the legs will also be a distance from one another.

Click one of the following:

Yes, my insect has a long thorax, two small cerci and smoky-colored 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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