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Insect Order Identification
A Pictorial Guide

This guide was created to teach plant doctors to identify the scientific order (taxonomy) of common garden insects. It does not include all orders of insects, all insects in each order, or most aquatic insects. The guide focuses on the main characteristics of each order or suborder.

The taxonomy of insect orders, suborders, superfamilies, and families has changed or may be changing, so not all reference works will correspond with this list or with each other. Order changes are indicated in the comments below.

Click the common names to view the ID guides.

Blattaria
  Cockroaches  
Coleoptera
Beetles and weevils    
Dermaptera
  Earwigs  
Diptera

Flies, mosquitoes, midges

   
Ephemeroptera
  Mayflies  
Hemiptera
Auchenorrhyncha - Cicadas, leafhoppers, spittlebugs, planthoppers Heteroptera - True bugs
Sternorrhyncha - Adelgids, phylloxera Sternorrhyncha - Aphids
Sternorrhyncha - Psyllids Sternorrhyncha - Scales, mealybugs
Sternorrhyncha - Whiteflies    
Hymenoptera
Aculeata - Ants Aculeata - Bees
Aculeata - Wasps Apocrita - Parasitoid wasps, gall wasps
Symphyta - Sawflies    
Isoptera
  Termites    
Lepidoptera
Butterflies, moths    
Mantodea

Mantids or mantises

   
Mecoptera
  Scorpionflies    
Microcoryphia
  Bristletails    
Neuroptera
Lacewings, antlions    
Odonata
Dragonflies, damselflies    
Orthoptera
Crickets, katydids, grasshoppers
   
Phasmatodea

Walkingsticks

   
Thysanoptera
Thrips    
Trichoptera
  Caddisflies    

Insect Comparisons:

Insect Order Comparison
Beetles vs. True bugs
Caterpillars vs Sawfly larvae

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2001-2011