Insect identification, 6 - a step by step guide
to identify insects to order level
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.
Parasitic insects, usually found in fur, hair, or feathers of other animals. Flattened either side to side or back to front. Go to Box 42.
Insects that are not parasitic, and are not flattened. Go to Box 46.
Jumping insects flattened from side to side, see below. Go to Siphonaptera, the fleas.
Insects flattened back to front (dorso-laterally). Go to Box 43.
Medium-sized insects with their head partly withdrawn into their thorax. Go to Box 44.
Tiny insects whose head is not withdrawn into their thorax. Go to Box 45.
Insects with short antennae, and whose legs end in strong claws to enable them to cling to their mammal hosts. Go to Diptera, the true flies.
Insects with much longer antennae, round-shaped body (see below), claws not very prominent. Go to Hemiptera, the true bugs.
Insects with a thorax clearly divided into 3 parts, a broad head, and biting mouthparts. Go to Mallophaga, the biting lice.
Insects with the thorax fused into one unit ( see below), a narrow head and sucking mouthparts. Go to Anoplura, the sucking lice.
Insects whose abdomen has a definite waist, antennae are usually elbowed. Go to the Hymenoptera, the bees, wasps and ants.