This identification key works for adult insects found in Europe. It may also work for insects found in other parts of the world. All you have to do is click on the right choice in each box. This will take you to the next box, or to the page dealing with that order of insects.

Box 23

Insects with very hairy wings. Go to Box 24.

Insects whose wings are not hairy, or have just a few hairs. Go to Box 25.

Box 24

Insects whose 4 wings are all of a similar shape and size. The tarsi of the front legs are swollen (see the drawing below). Go to Embioptera the web spinners.

Embioptera, web spinner

Insects whose hind wings are broader than their front wings, and do not have swollen tarsi. Go to Trichoptera, the caddis flies.

Caddis fly Phrganea grandis

Box 25

Insects whose tarsus has 4 or 5 segments. Go to Box 26.

insect leg showing parts

Insects whose tarsus has 1 - 3 segments. Go to Box 27.

Box 26

Insects who have all 4 wings the same size and shape. Go to Isoptera, the termites.

Termits Termes bellicosus

Insects where the front wings are much larger than the hind wings (the hind wings may be zipped to the front wings, so look closely). Go to Hymenoptera, the bees, wasps, ants and saw flies.

Box 27

Insects whose hind wings are similar, but slightly larger than the front wings, and the abdomen ends in two cerci (see the photograph below). Go to Plecoptera, the stoneflies.

Stonefly in teh Perlodidae family

Insects whose hind wings are smaller than the front wings, and the abdomen does not end in cerci. Go to Box 28.