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

Your answer to the previous question was that your insect did not have the following set of characteristics: a long, shield-like pronotum that extends back over the abdomen, and hind legs that much longer that its other legs.

Caudal filaments
This is an example of an insect with tail-like appendages at the end of its abdomen. In this case, the insect has three hair-like appendages: the two outer filaments are called cerci and the third (between the cerci) is called a caudal filament. Public-domain illustration.

Does your insect have one or more tail-like appendages at the end of its abdomen?

Check the hind end of your insect for “tails.” Depending on the type of insect, the tail-like appendages may be short or long.

Click one of the following:

Yes, my insect has one or more tail-like appendages at the end of its abdomen.

No, my insect does not have tail-like appendages.


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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