Insect identification keys

How to use an insect key

An insect key is a tool used to determine the species of a given insect. Typically, insect keys are designed as dichotomous, or paired, couplets. A couplet is a choice between 2 options based on a description of a particular feature. Example: Insect size, antennae shape.

A user chooses which option best matches the insect being identified. This choice leads to another couplet. The process continues until the user reaches a final couplet that identifies the insect.

To use the key effectively, it helps if the user understands insect morphology (structure and body parts).

A glossary of insect terms is also available.

Stored product beetles found in Canada

Stored product beetles found in Canada

Stored grain pests found in Canada

Stored grain pests found in Canada

Simple and comprehensive keys

The Canadian Grain Commission has 2 keys available:

  • A simple key to commonly found adult insects associated with stored grain in Canada
  • A comprehensive key to adult beetles found in stored products, including grain, in Canada and worldwide.
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