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

Your answer to the previous question was that your insect is minute.

Hamuli
The hamuli are tiny hooks that lie along the leading edge of the hind wing. These hooks latch onto a small fold in the trailing edge of the forewing, which allows the two wings to link together when the insect is in flight. You may well need a magnifier to see the hamuli on your insect. Illustration credit: Leslie Mertz.

Does your insect wings have hamuli?

The hamuli are a set of tiny hooks that link the forewings and hindwings together when the insect is in flight. You will likely need a magnifier to see them. Scan the leading (front) edge of the hind wing for a row of minuscule hooks. These hooks will look similar to the hooks in a piece of velcro. The hooks, or hamuli, latch onto a tiny fold along the trailing (back) edge of the forewing. This system allows the forewing and hind wing to link up, providing a single broad surface that is helpful when flying.

Click one of the following:

Yes, my insect has hamuli.

No, my insect does not have this feature.


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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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