What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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Identify families

Higher Taxa

    • Body normally distinctly hairy or strongly setose, not finely pubescent or glabrous; neck region not collar-like, anterior ventral cervical sclerite larger than posterior one; tegmina and hind wings usually present in adult; femora often compressed and keeled; male forceps often asymmetrical, nymphs sometimes with multiarticulate cerci; female usually with discernible genitalia (Fig. 23.5A); male genitalia* with both medial lobes present, bent forward at rest, rarely with one lobe somewhat reduced, lateral lobes usually with teeth or processes PYGIDICRANOIDEA - Pygidicranidae. 2
    • Body normally glabrous, often shiny, or at most finely pubescent, sometimes quite strongly punctate; neck region with a 'collar', anterior ventral cervical sclerite smaller than posterior one; tegmina and/or hind wings often absent in adult; femora not compressed or keeled; male forceps seldom asymmetrical, nymphal cerci not multiarticulate; female without readily discernible genitalia (e.g. Fig. 23.5B); male genitalia with at least one medial lobe permanently directed backwards, lateral lobes without teeth or processes 4
  2. (1)
    • With 2 large, divergent tubercles, each overlying the base of one of the forceps BLANDICINAE
    • Without such tubercles 3
  3. (2)
    • Body more elongate, hairy but without stiff setae; femora keeled; terminal abdominal tergum longer than wide; forceps stout, more or less straight, nearly contiguous basally, asymmetrical in some genera PYGIDICRANINAE
    • Body shorter and stouter with dorsal, bristle-like setae; femora not keeled; terminal abdominal tergum wider than long; forceps gently curved, distinctly separated basally ECHINOSOMATINAE
  4. (1)
    • Tarsi with 2nd segment subcylindrical, not projecting beneath 3rd, which, in lateral view, arises more or less terminally from 2nd (Fig. 23.7A) 5
    • Tarsi with 2nd segment often expanded laterally, projecting beneath 3rd (Figs 23.7B, C), or if not so, 3rd segment arising subterminally and more or less dorsally from 2nd 10
  5. (4)
    • Usually wingless; pygidium distinguishable but concealed by being bent downwards between forceps; male genitalia with 2 medial lobes, one of them (non-functional) flexed forwards, sometimes reduced Anisolabididae. 6
    • Usually winged (or at least with tegmina); pygidium distinctly visible (though other `opisthomeres' reduced); male genitalia with only one medial lobe Spongiphoridae. 8
  6. (5)
    • Body minutely pubescent, not strongly flattened; antennae elongate; thoracic mesonotum with posterior margin convex; forceps not long and slender, often asymmetrical in malemale; male genitalia with manubrium at least as long as subgenital plate ANISOLABIDINAE
    • Without above combination of characters; thoracic mesonotum with posterior margin more or less straight 7
  7. (6)
    • Last abdominal tergum with posterior margin more or less straight ISOLABELLINAE
    • Last abdominal tergum with posterior margin concave ISOLABIDINAE
  8. (5)
    • Tegmina smooth, with lateral keels NESOGASTRINAE
    • Tegmina punctate, without lateral keels 9
  9. (8)
    • Head narrow, not transverse; eyes relatively small; antennae with 3rd segment shorter than 5th LABIINAE
    • Head broad, transverse; eyes large and prominent; antennae with 3rd segment not shorter than 5th SPONGIPHORINAE
  10. (4)
    • Tarsi with 2nd segment almost cylindrical (cf. Fig. 23.7A but 3rd segment arising subterminally and more or less dorsally); pygidium always directed downwards; male genitalia with 2 medial lobes, 1 directed forwards, the other backwards 11
    • Tarsi with 2nd segment produced or expanded (Figs 23.7B, C); pygidium not directed downwards; male genitalia with only one medial lobe 12
  11. (10)
    • Body extraordinarily flattened and often contrastingly pigmented Apachyidae
    • Body and colouration not as above Labiduridae
  12. (10)
    • Tarsi with 2nd segment produced below 3rd but not expanded laterally (Fig. 23.7B) Chelisochidae - CHELISOCHINAE
    • Tarsi with 2nd segment produced below 3rd and expanded laterally (Fig. 23.7C) Forficulidae - FORFICULINAE


An interactive key to Dermaptera is currently not available. The dichotomous one from The Insects of Australia (Second Edition, 1991) has been provided until the interactive one is ready. This key is presented as it originally appeared; no attempt to update it or the classification has been made.