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Identification Keys

General Resources

Lucidcentral Key Search
A number of interactive keys are being built using the Lucid software developed by the Centre for Biological Information Technology (CBIT) at the University of Queensland, Australia. Relevant freely available web keys are included in the list below but the Lucidcentral Key Search tool provides information on many more and on the new mobile apps available.

ID Tools
Website providing links to over 30 Lucid idenfication tools developed by USDA-APHIS’ Identification Technology Program (ITP).

US National Plant Diagnostic Network
List of laboratories in the US for pest and pathogen identifications.

Invasive arthropods (terrestrial)

A Resource for Pest and Diseases of Cultivated Palms Walters TW, Redford AJ, Trice MD, Scher JL, Hodges AC, 2010. USDA-APHIS-PPQ-CPHST
This key is designed to support palm surveys and includes the pests, diseases and disorders of palms occurring in or threatening the USA and Caribbean.

Ambrosia Beetles (Xyleborini): An identification tool to the world genera Hulr J, Smith SM, 2010.
Xyleborini is the most important and species-rich tribe of ambrosia beetles. This group contains more invasive pests than all other ambrosia beetle groups combined.

Anastrepha and Toxotrypana: descriptions, illustrations, and interactive keys Norrbom AL, Korytkowski CA, Zucchi RA, Uramoto K, Venable GL, McCormick J, Dallwitz MJ
Includes Lucid and Intkey tools, taxonomic information and images.

Antkey Sarnat E, Suarez A, 2012. USDA-APHIS-PPQ-CPHST & University of Illinois
Antkey focuses on over 115 ant species that are introduced, invasive, or commonly intercepted in the United States including Hawaii. Features include an interactive Lucid key, dynamically generated species pages, a searchable media collection of over 1,150 images, over 70 live video clips of introduced ants, a fully illustrated glossary with over 400 terms, a searchable database of introduced ant literature, and over 12,000 specimen records of introduced ants imported from Antweb ( It is designed for non-specialists. The Scratchpads platform allows users to participate in the discussion forums and post comments on pages.

An identification tool for 66 aphid species, cosmopolitan and polyphagous in nature. Also contains illustrated fact sheets which describe the common name, host associations, distributions and economic importance.

Australian Soft Scale (Coccidae) Genera Hardy N, Kondo T
A Lucid key to the genera of around 80 soft scale species described from Australia.

Bark Beetle Genera of the United States Mercado JE.
Offers identification support for 78 genera of native and established exotic bark beetles (Coleoptera, Curculionidae, Scolytinae).

Bee Mite ID: Bee-Associated Mite Genera of the World Klimov PB, O'Connor B, Ochoa R, Bauchan GR, Scher J, 2016. USDA/APHIS

CulicID: A key to adult female mosquitoes of Queensland, Australia. Version 1 Foley DH, Bryan JH, 2005. University of Queensland.
A Lucid key to 15 genera and their subgenera.

Diabrotica ID Derunkov A, Konstantinov A, Tishechkin A, Hartje L, Redford AJ, 2013. Identification of Diabrotica species (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) from North and Central America. USDA APHIS PPQ Center for Plant Health Science and Technology, USDA Agricultural Research Service, University of Maryland, and Louisiana State University
A Lucid key to 112 species and subspecies of Diabrotica with fact sheets.

Flat Mites of the World Edition 2 Beard JJ, Ochoa R, Bauchan GR, Trice MD, Redford AJ, Walters TW, Mitter C, 2012. Identification Technology Program, CPHST, PPQ, APHIS, USDA; Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
Includes interactive Lucid keys, fact sheets, descriptions, and images to help identify the 36 genera of flat mites (Acari: Trombidiformes: Tetranychoidea: Tenuipalpidae) from the USA and around the world, as well as specific diagnostics for 20 spp. of Raoiella, 19 species of Brevipalpus, and Tenuipalpus pacificus.

Hispine Pests of Palms [in A Resource for Pests and Diseases of Cultivated Palms] Staines C, 2016. USDA/APHIS
Includes fact sheets and images for 23 chrysomelid (family Chrysomelidae, former subfamily Hispinae) beetles that are defoliators of palms.

Identification of the Whitefly Genera (Hemiptera-Sternorrhyncha-Aleyrodidae) Dooley JW, 2011. USDA/APHIS.
A Lucid Key of the 4th pupal stage of whitefly.

Invasive Mite Identification: Tools for Quarantine and Plant Protection Walter DE, 2006. USDA/APHIS/PPQ Center for Plant Health Science and Technology & University of Colorado.
Nine Lucid identification tools for commonly intercepted mites designed for quarantine workers at different levels of expertise.

Invertebrate pests of maize in East Africa (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania), Akol AM, Chidege MY, Talwana HAL, Mauremootoo JR, 2001. Makerere University, TPRI, BioNET-EAFRINET, CABI & The University of Queensland
A Lucid key and fact sheets to 26 pests of maize in East Africa.

LBAM ID Tools for diagnosing light brown apple moth and related western U.S. leafrollers (Tortricidae: Archipini) Gilligan TM, Epstein ME. USDA/APHIS/PPQ Center for Plant Health Science and Technology.
A Lucid key for the identification of Epiphyas postvittana and 22 related species found in California.

Pacific Invasive Ant Key (PIAKey) Sarnat EM, 2008. USDA/APHIS/PPQ Center for Plant Health Science and Technology & University of California-Davis.
A Lucid key to 20 genera and 44 species of invasive ants found in the Pacific Island region.

Pacific Invasive Ants Taxonomy Workshop Manual Gunawardana D, Sarnat E, 2007. Workshop Manual. MAF Biosecurity New Zealand and SPC.
This pdf manual is designed to complement the Lucid Key for The Pacific invasive Ants Identification Key.

Pupal Key to Genera of Whiteflies Dooley J, 2001.
A Lucid Phoenix key of 55 genera.

Scale Insects: Identification tool for species of quarantine significance, Edition 2 Miller D, Rung A, Parikh G, Venable G, Redford AJ, Evans GA, Gill RJ, 2014. USDA-APHIS Identification Technology Program (ITP).
Four Lucid tools for scale families, mealybugs, soft scales and other scales.

Totricids of Agricultural Importance Gilligan TM, Epstein ME, 2012
Resources for identifying adults and larvae of tortricids that threaten agriculture in the USA. Pest species as well as common non-target species are covered in detailed fact sheets and interactive identification keys. In addition, a DNA barcode database allows for the confirm of identifications using COI barcode data.

Vector Identification Resources Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit, Smithsonian Institution, USA
Interactive diagnostic matrix keys and other tools for the identification of arthropod vectors of human and animal diseases including mosquitoes, sandflies, ticks, scorpions and fleas.

Wood Boring Beetles of the World Cline AR, Ivie MA, Bellamy CL, Scher J, 2008
A variety of identification tools for wood boring beetles worldwide.

Invasive freshwater species

Identifying Invasive Freshwater Shrimps and Isopods Dobson M, 2012. Freshwater Biological Association, UK
An identification guide to species already present in the UK and others that are invasive across mainland Europe.

Invasive marine species

Identification Key to Marine Invasive Species in Nordic WatersNOBANIS (European Network on Marine Invasive Species)
This key covers the marine invertebrates and fish presently known to be introduced in Nordic waters.

Invasive molluscs

Terrestrial Mollusc Tool (TMT) White-McLean J, Redford A. USDA-APHIS-PPQ-CPHST
Includes 33 families and 128 species of snails and slugs of quarantine significance and contaminant species commonly intercepted at US ports of entry.

Invasive plants

Aquarium and Pond Plants of the World Winterton SL, Scher J, Edition 2, 2007
A Lucid key to 140 genera. Fact sheets also cover topics such as included species, native and adventive distributions, weed status, brief descriptions, and taxonomic information.

Federal NoxiousWeed Disseminules of the U.S. Scher J, Walters D, Edition 2.1, 2010
A Lucid key to aid in determining whether or not an unknown disseminule (e.g., seed, fruit) found as a contaminant in imported botanicals and agricultural products is one of 114 Federal Noxious Weeds (FNW).

Invasive Plants of East Africa (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) Lusweti A, Wabuyele E, Ssegawa P, Mauremootoo JR, 2011. National Museums of Kenya, Makerere University, BioNET-EAFRINET, CABI & The University of Queensland
A Lucid key and fact sheets to over 100 of the most serious invasive plants in East Africa.

Key to Flowering Plant Genera of New Zealand Glenny D, James T, Cruickshank J, Dawson M, Ford K, Breitwieser I, 2012. Landcare Research, New Zealand
A Lucid 3 key covering 1085 genera and illustrated with 7000 images. 59 distinguishing features are scored and illustrated.

Mistaken Identity? Invasive Plants and their Native Look-Alikes: An identification guide for the mid-Atlantic Delaware Department of Agriculture and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, 2008
The 20 species represent some of the most significant invasive plant identification challenges in this region of the USA, as well as the corresponding native species with which they are most likely to be confused.

Weeds of Australia Identification Tool Navie S, Adkins S, Centre for Biological Information Technology, University of Queensland, Australia
A Lucid key to over 1000 weeds is available free online, courtesy of the Queensland Government.

West African Plants - A Photo Guide Brunken U, Schmidt M, Dressler S, Janssen T, Thiombiano A, Zizka G, 2008. Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, Frankfurt/Main, Germany.
An interactive photographic guide to identify higher plants from West African ecosystems, containing images of ferns and seed plants taken in the field. You can browse through a taxonomic hierarchy and / or search according to selected characters observed. Additional guides for Central African and East African plants are under construction.

Plant pathogens

Citrus Diseases Serrano D, Serrano E, Dewdney M, Southwick C, 2010. USDA-APHIS-PPQ-CPHST
A symptom based Lucid key for the identification of diseases encountered during citrus surveys.

Diagnostic Keys to Tree Fruit Diseases Cornell University, 2001
Keys to the common diseases of apple, pear, cherry, peach and plum in the Northeastern and mid-Atlantic region of the United States are included.

Symptoms of Palm Diseases and Disorders [in A Resource for Pests and Diseases of Cultivated PalmsBroschat TK, Elliott ML, Maguire I, 2010. USDA-APHIS-PPQ-CPHST
This is the second of six tools being developed to support the screening and detection of pests and diseases of cultivated palms in the US and Caribbean. This resource covers diseases, physiological disorders, physical injury and damage caused by hidden or microscopic arthropods.