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Winged Insect Key (Flies, bees, butterflies, beetles, etc.)
 

Starting with question #1, determine which statement (a or b) is true for your insect. Follow the direction at the end of the true statement until you are finally given the name of the Order your insect belongs to.

1. a. Insect has 1 pair of wings ........................................................................ Order Diptera (flies, mosquitoes)
  b. Insect has 2 pair of wings ........................................................................ go to #2
       
       
2. a. Insect has extremely long prothorax (neck) ............................................... go to #3
  b. Insect has a regular length or no prothorax ............................................... go to #4
       
       
3. a. Forelegs come together in a 'praying' position ............................................ Order Mantodea (mantids)
  b. Forelegs do not come together in a 'praying' position .................................. Order Raphidoptera (snakeflies)
       
       
4. a. Wings are armour-like with membraneous hindwings underneath them ........... Order Coleoptera (beetles)
  b. Wings are not armour-like .......................................................................... go to #5
       
       
5. a. Wings twist when insect is in flight ............................................................. Order Strepsiptera (twisted-wing parasites)
  b. Wings flap up and down (no twisting) when in flight ..................................... go to #6
       
       
6. a. Wings are triangular in shape .................................................................... go to #7
  b. Wings are not triangular in shape .............................................................. go to #8
       
       
7. a. Insect lacks a proboscis and has long filaments at abdomenal tip ................... Order Ephemeroptera (mayflies)
  b. Insect has a proboscis and lacks long filaments at abdomenal ........................ Order Lepidoptera (butterflies)
       
       
8. a. Head is elongated (snout-like) .................................................................... Order Mecoptera (scorpionflies)
  b. Head is not elongated (snout-like) .............................................................. go to #9
       
       
9. a. Insect has 2 pair of cerci (pincers) at tip of abdomen ..................................... Order Dermaptera (earwigs)
  b. Insect does not have 2 pair of cerci (pincers) at tip of abdomen ...................... go to #10
       
       
10. a. All 4 wings are both similar in size and in shape to each other ......................... go to #11
  b. All 4 wings are not similar in size nor in shape to each other ........................... go to #16
       
       
11. a. Eyes nearly cover or make up entire head ..................................................... Order Odonata (dragonflies)
  b. Eyes do not nearly cover nor make up entire head ......................................... go to #12
       
       
12. a. All 4 wings are finely veined and are almost 2x longer than abdomen ............... Oder Isoptera (termites)
  b. All 4 wings are not finely veined and are not almost 2x longer than abdomen .... go to #13
       
       
13. a. All 4 wings are transparent with many criss-crossing veins .............................. Order Neuroptera (lacewings)
  b. All 4 wings are not transparent with many criss-crossing veins ........................ go to #14
       
       
14. a. Mouth parts are beak-like and are far back beneath the head .......................... Order Homoptera (leaf hoppers)
  b. Mouth parts are beak-like and are far back beneath the head .......................... go to #15
       
       
15. a. Fan-likehind wings fold flat under fore wings covering most of abdomen ........... Order Plecoptera (stoneflies)
  b. Hind wings fold 'roof-like' and are wider at the base than the forewings ............ Order Megaloptera (dobsonflies)
       
       
16. a. Insect is less than 3mm long and has 3 simple eyes as well as compound eyes... Order Zoraptera (zorapterans)
  b. Insect lacks 3 simple eyes in addition to compound eyes ................................ go to #17
       
       
17. a. Insect has long hind legs used for jumping and a flat-sided head ..................... Order Orthoptera (crickets, grasshoppers)
  b. Insect lacks long hind legs and has a typical rounded head ............................. go to #18
       
       
18. a. Membraneous wings have tiny hairs on (around) them; body also has
tiny hairs ..................................................................................................
Order Trichoptera (caddisflies)
  b. Wings lack tiny hairs on (around) them ........................................................ go to #19
       
       
19. a. Fore wings are half-leathery (at base) and half-membraneous (at tip) in
texture .....................................................................................................
Order Hemiptera (squash bugs)
  b. Fore wings are uniform in texture and appearance ......................................... go to #20
       
       
20. a. Body is both oval and flattened ................................................................... Order Blattodea (cockroaches)
  b. Body is not both oval and flattened ............................................................. go to #21
       
       
21. a. Insect has a constricted waist ...................................................................... Order Hymenoptera (bees, wasps)
  b. Insect lacks a constricted waist .................................................................... Order Embioptera (web-spinners)
 
 

 

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