HomeInstructionsUse the keyGroupsfamAnatomy

A Note of Caution: When identifying insects, natural variability and variability due to preservation techniques exists. If a specimen does not appear to fit a couplet, do not select one just because the specimen is "close enough" as you may have a new or different species. Please refer to the taxonomic references if you think you have something not illustrated in the key.

This key was developed with the purpose of identifying insect families, using images along with text descriptors to distinguish one family from another. Each page presents multiple choices that will eventually narrow the identification down to a family. To make a choice, simply click on the image that best resembles your specimen.

Three ways to navigate through this key:

1) Identify an unknown organism: Clicking on the Use the Key button in the top banner, the identification process will begin after the selection of an insect order.

2) Go to a Family: Clicking on the Family button in the top banner, a list of the families contained in the key will be presented. Click on a family name to see pictures and descriptions of that organism.

3) Go to a Group: Clicking on the Groups button in the top banner, a list of the taxonomic groups included in the key will be presented.

  Many images include arrows or symbols to indicate specific features on an organism. To view the image without the arrows, simply roll your mouse pointer over the image.
  Identification pages contain pictures, taxonomic information, additional notes, video clips, and links for each family.
  The key also features Morphology pages for reference. The morphology pages contain general information regarding basic anatomy for each of the major orders in the key.
Multimedia Requirements
  • Some video portions of the key require plugins for Quicktime Player files (.MOV). Download a free plugin at www.apple.com