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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: an elongated prothorax, so that its head extends out in front of its body.

Crossvein number
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.

Is your insect 10mm long (0.4 inches) or less, and does it have few or no crossveins?

An insect wing typically has main veins that run the length of the wings. Crossveins are additional, smaller veins that branch off these veins to form small windowpane-like cells. (See the illustration.) If your insect has no or very few “windowpanes” within the wings — and it is a small insect as described in the question, answer “yes.”

Click one of the following:

Yes, my insect is 10mm long (0.4 inches) or less, and has few or no crossveins.

No, my insect does not have both of 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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