Insects of Britain and Ireland: orders

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Implicit attributes

Unless indicated otherwise, the following attributes are implicit throughout the descriptions, except where the characters concerned are inapplicable.

Adult insects. Terrestrial; not particularly associated with water. Not social; parasitising invertebrates only; not ‘jumpers’; mute. Without elytra. Head not rigidly beaked. Mouthparts functional for feeding; not piercing. Antennae present. Compound eyes present and well developed. Hind-wings not represented by halteres. Wings without ‘corneous dots’; not fringed. Wings of the resting insect not held roof-like. Thoracic legs present. The body and legs of wingless adults without scales. Tarsi not completely reduced to pretarsal claws. Abdomen not spectacularly appendaged; with no rudimentary abdominal limbs.

Eggs The eggs not laid in batches within a protective case (ootheca).

Larvae. Larvae terrestrial; without anal prolegs; drab.

Special features. The fore-legs not conspicuously raptorial, the posture not ‘praying mantis-like’; not slender and stick-like in appearance (not ‘stick insects’). Without the ‘neck’ characteristic of Raphidioptera. Males not having fore-wings reduced to knobbed, haltere-like structures, and the females not larviform parasites; i.e., by contrast with Strepsiptera. The adults not having the peculiar features of Pthiraptera.


To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: orders. Version: 16th May 2016. delta-intkey.com’.

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