Mike's Insect Keys
Equipping the next generation of entomologists
Welcome to my selection of illustrated identification aids for insects. The amazing diversity of insects illustrates and celebrates the creativity and imagination of God and my hope is that you will not only find these keys useful and attractive but also that they would lead you to worship.
These dichotomous keys are designed for use on screen. I would like to envisage them being used on a PC at home or in a lab, or used in the field, for example on a smart phone or tablet. They are not designed to be printed. The layout with one couplet for each page is deliberate and moving through the keys should be possible using the hyperlinks, or if using a tablet, by swiping through the document.
It is my conviction that good quality keys should be available online for all users freely so that advances in natural history knowledge are not hampered at the first hurdle of identification. It is essential that our biodiversity is accurately documented so that decisions in land management are made in the light of it.
My first keys were updated and illustrated versions of the keys to British coleoptera published by Joy in 1932. Since some of the out of print Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects have now been published on the web under a Creative Commons License I have started to write illustrated keys with updated nomenclature based on these as well. You will also find a growing number of keys that I have translated and adapted from French and German works.
All these keys are supposed to be works in progress. Any key can be improved by "field testing". Please join the group of professional and amateur entomologists who have made suggestions of improvements based on their own trials of the keys. I am usually able to respond quickly to any errors etc. If you have some suggestions based on your experience please contact me on mikesinsectkeysATgmail.com. If you find that a key is missing please let me know and I'll see what I can do to forward you something.
Morphology. The study of any group of insects involves getting used to a whole new vocabulary. To help in introducing beetles I have done several detailed studies from different families. You will find my report on a complete dissection of the beetle Subcoccinella vigintiquattuorpunctata (the common 24-spot ladybird) on the Coccinellidae page which includes details on the interpretation of mouthparts and genitalia. There is also one on the Curculionidae page for Otiorhynchus sulcatus and one on the Chrysomelidae, subfamily Donaciinae page for Donacia vulgaris.
Botany. I'm also a keen botanist and you will find some of my work under the botany tab below.