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

Your answer to the previous question was that your insect has no tail-like appendages.

This insect has halteres. The green arrow points to the haltere on the left side of the insect’s body. This particular insect, which is a crane fly, has very obvious halteres. You insect may have halteres that are not so large and noticeable, so take a careful look. Photo credit: Pinzo.

Does your insect have halteres behind the forewings?

This question is asking whether your insect has small, knobbed, stalk-like structures, one of which attaches to either side of the last segment of the thorax. These structures are called halteres. Sometimes the halteres are easy to spot, but not always, so look closely.

Note: Be sure that you are looking for halteres that attach behind — or farther back on the body than — the forewings. These halteres will extend from the metathorax, which is the last segment of the thorax — the segment next to the first segment of the abdomen.

Click one of the following:

Yes, my insect has halteres.

No, my insect does not have halteres.

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,; Halloween pennant (Celithemis eponina) — photo credit: Kay Meng, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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