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

Your answer to the previous question was that your insect has at least one tail-like abdominal appendage.

Caudal filaments
This insect has two, long, threadlike cerci, plus a third similar-looking caudal filament between them. The arrow points to the three filaments. Public-domain illustration.

Does your insect have two, long, thread-like cerci? (It may or may not have a third, long, thread-like tail filament between them).

Look for two, long, threadlike filaments, called cerci, that extend from the rear of your insect. A third filament, which may or may not be present, will be in between the two cerci. This third filament is simply called a tail or caudal filament.

Click one of the following:

Yes, my insect has two, long cerci.

No, my insect does not have two, long cerci.


I would like to return to the start of this key.



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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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