Identifying the Insect Species

identifying-insectThis site focuses on introducing insects that make great pets such as the giant millipede, praying mantis, walking stick insect and green leaf insect. However, once you get into the hobby of keeping insects it is very common to start investigating the insecta class more broadly and become quite fascinated with identifying all manner of insects. With around one million species identified, and millions more awaiting identification, it is certainly a hobby that can take you in many directions, and as an amateur you could make a real contribution to entomology (the scientific study of insects). However, even if you aren’t gripped by this side of the hobby you should take the time to learn a little about identifying inspect species, and where your pet fits in to one of the most diverse parts of the animal kingdom.

Insects, as with all animals, have a specific way of being classified. Taxonomy is the formal term for the classification of living organisms, and insects are a class under the Arthropoda phylum:

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Uniramia (Insecta)


The insecta class happens to be the largest of the arthropod phylum and the only one sporting species with wings. There are 20 insect orders, and the guide below will help you with identifying the insect species that your pet belongs to.

The Apterygota have no wings:

  • Thysanura, 3 Pronged Bristletails
  • Diplura, 2 Pronged Bristletails
  • Protura, Proturans
  • Collembola, Springtails

The Exopterygota undergo limited metamorphosis:

  • Ephemeroptera, May-flies
  • Odonata, Dragons and Damsels
  • Plecoptera, Stone-flies
  • Grylloblatodea, Ice Bugs
  • Orthoptera, Grasshoppers
  • Phasmida, Stick-Insects
  • Dermaptera, Earwigs
  • Embioptera, Web Spinners
  • Dictyoptera, Roaches and Mantids
  • Isoptera, Termites
  • Zoraptera, Z. hubbardi , Z. snyderi , Z. sinensis , Z. medoensis
  • Psocoptera, Book and Bark Lice
  • Mallophaga, Biting Lice
  • Siphunculata, Sucking Lice
  • Hemiptera, True Bugs
  • Thysanoptera, Thrips

The Endopterygota undergo complete metamorphosis:

  • Neuroptera, Lacewings
  • Mecoptera, Scorpion-flies
  • Siphonaptera, Fleas
  • Coleoptera, Beetles
  • Strepsiptera, Stylops
  • Diptera, True Flies
  • Lepidoptera, Butterflies and Moths
  • Trichoptera, Caddis-flies
  • Hymenoptera, Ants Bees and Wasps
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