A. CLASS ENTOGNATHA (all have recessed mouthparts)
PROTURA. Proturans are 0.6 to 1.5 mm.
and white. They have no eyes, wings, or antennae.
Their mouthparts are adapted for chewing or
sucking. Their front legs resemble antennae
as they are carried in an elevated position.
Proturans are found in upper soil layers.
DIPLURA. Diplurans are 6 mm. or less
and whitish in color. Their bodies have no scales.
They have only two appendages at the end of
their abdomen. They have chewing mouthparts.
They have no compound eyes. Diplurans inhabit
the soil and leaf mold and are commonly found
under bark on the ground.
COLLEMBOLA (springtails). Collembolans
are wingless. Their abdomens have up to six
segments. There is an appendage, a collophore,
on the ventral surface of the first abdominal
segment and a furcula on the fourth abdominal
segment. Springtails are found in the soil,
in leaf litter, decaying wood, fungi, and near
and on water.
CLASS INSECTA: APTERYGOTA (primitive wingless
THYSANURA (silverfish, bristletails,
and rockhoppers). Thysanurans have chewing mouthparts.
Their abdomens have between ten and eleven segments.
It may look as if they have three tails, but
these are a pair of lateral cerci and a caudal
filament in the middle. Thysanurans can be found
under rocks and bark, in leaf litter, and on
their food sources: lichens, algae, mold, decaying
fruit, and dead insects.
CLASS INSECTA: PTERYGOTA (winged insects)
EPHEMEROPTERA (mayflies). Mayflies have
one or two pairs of wings. The front pair is
large and triangular, the hind pair is smaller
and rounded. The mouthparts are vestigial. Mayflies
have filamentous cerci with two or three segments.
Mayflies are found at streams and ponds.
ODONATA (dragonflies, damselflies, and
skimmers). These insects have two pairs of net-veined,
membranous wings. They have chewing mouthparts.
Their heads are large, but their bodies are
long and thin. They have very short antennae.
They are found at streams and ponds.
ORTHOPTERA (grasshoppers, crickets, cockroaches,
katydids, etc.). Orthopterans are either wingless
or have two pairs of wings. The front wings
are parchment-like; the hind wings are membranous
and fold like a fan when at rest. Mouthparts
are found under objects on the ground and on
native vegetation (on which they feed).
(Gryllacrididae) are found in burrows in
(Acrididae) are found in most habitats,
especially in grassland communities.
are found in plants whose leaves they mimic.
or potato bugs (Stenopelmatidae) are nocturnal.
They burrow in the soil and feed on tubers and
and Blatellidae) are found primarily in
urban situations. However, locally the Western
wood cockroach (Parcoblatta americana)
may be found in old logs and under rocks in
DERMAPTERA (earwigs). Earwigs have two
pairs of wings, chewing mouthparts, and forceps-like
cerci. They eat flowers and green vegetation
near the ground, as well as dead insects.
ISOPTERA (termites). Termites are wingless
or have two pairs of membranous, same-sized
wings which are held flat over the abdomen when
at rest. Termites have chewing mouthparts. The
joint between the thorax and the abdomen is
relatively broad. Termites are found in dead
tree branches, buried posts or stumps, or in
EMBIOPTERA (webspinners). Webspinners
have either no wings or two long, membranous
pairs. Their mouthparts are chewing. They are
found among grass roots, under rocks, and in
leaf litter. They eat decaying vegetation.
PLECOPTERA (stoneflies). Stoneflies have
two pairs of cross-veined wings. The front wings
are narrow. The hind wings have a large anal
lobe and are folded like a fan when at rest.
Their chewing mouthparts are often reduced in
size. They have long antennae and cerci. They
are found at streamsides on vegetation or on
PSOCOPTERA (psocids, booklice, and barklice).
Psocopterans have either no wings or two pairs.
When wings are present, they are held over the
body like a roof when at rest. Mouthparts are
chewing. Antennae are slender. The clypeus protrudes
on the face. They can be found in trees, on
the trunks or foliage, under bark or rocks.
They eat molds, pollen, and other organic matter.
MALLOPHAGA (chewing lice). Mallophagans
are wingless. They have chewing mouthparts.
Their triangular heads are as wide as or wider
than their thorax. Their bodies are somewhat
flattened. They have small eyes. They are ectoparasites
of vertebrates, especially birds and mammals.
ANOPLURA (sucking lice). Anoplurans are
wingless. Their mouthparts are adapted for piercing
and sucking. Their heads are narrower than their
thorax and are usually pointed in front. They
have no eyes. They are ectoparasites of mammals.
THYSANOPTERA (thrips). Thrips are wingless
or have two pairs of long, narrow, membranous
wings that are fringed with long hairs. Their
mouthparts are adapted to rasp and suck. Thrips
parasitize plants. They can often be seen inside
the veins of leaves, detected by holding the
leaves up to the light.
HEMIPTERA (true bugs). Hemipterans are
wingless or have two pairs of wings. The front
pair of wings, called hemelytra, are thick and
leathery at the base, but membranous away from
the base. True bugs have piercing and sucking
mouthparts that originate from the front of
the head on the ventral surface. A shield-like
scutellum is prominent between the wings at
their base. True bugs are primarily herbivorous.
A few true bugs prey on other insects or on
mammal blood (ambush bugs, assasin bugs, and
bedbugs). Many are found in or near water (water
boatmen, water striders, backswimmers, and toe
HOMOPTERA (bugs). Homopterans are wingless
or have two pairs of membranous wings that have
the same texture throughout. The wings are held
like a roof over the body when at rest. The
mouthparts are adapted for piercing and sucking
and originate from the back of the head on the
ventral surface. Bugs are herbivorous and are
easily found on plants. Some of the more common
bugs are aphids, scales, spittle bugs, mealybugs,
cicadas, and leafhoppers.
NEUROPTERA (alderflies, lacewings, antlions,
etc.). Neuropterans have two pairs of membranous,
many-veined wings. The wings have similar size
and shape and are held like a roof over the
body when resting. Mouthparts are adapted for
chewing. The antennae are long and have many
segments. These insects are predaceous, many
on other species of insects.
and alderflies (Sialidae) are found at streamsides
can be found under loose bark.
and Hemerobiidae) alight on plants.
are nocturnal and can be found near the nests
of bees and wasps.
burrow in the uppermost layers of sandy, dry
soil, awaiting their prey.
COLEOPTERA (beetles). This is the largest
order of insects. Beetles usually have two pairs
of wings. The fore wings (called elytra) are
hard and thick and meet in a straight line down
the back when at rest. When present, the hind
wings are membranous and used for flight. At
rest, they fold beneath the elytra. Some beetles
have only elytra or have reduced, flightless
hind wings. Some beetles are entirely wingless.
They have chewing mouthparts. There are so many
different beetles that nearly every habitat
is home to some species.
(Anobiidae) can be found in galls or in
Wood borers (Bostrichidae)
burrow in dried wood (dead or burned limbs).
beetles (Buprestidae) eat pollen.
(Cantharidae) can be found on vegetation
beetles (Carabidae) are nocturnal, but can
be found under rocks or logs by day, especially
in moist areas.
(Cerambycidae) are often found at flowers
where they eat pollen and other plant parts.
(Chrysomelidae) mostly feed on leaves, a
few on aquatic plants.
(Cicindelidae) are predaceous and stalk
their prey on the ground.
Ladybugs or ladybird
beetles (Coccinellidae) prey on soft-bodied
insects like aphids, mealybugs, and mites.
or weevils (Curculionidae) are commonly
found boring into plant materials - acorns,
flower buds, grain. The Yucca weevil (Scyphophorus
yuccae) is found at the base of Yucca
(Dermestidae) are scavengers and are found
on animals and plants, in stored grain, or in
beetles (Dytiscidae), whirligig beetles (Gyrinidae),
and scavenger water beetles (Hydrophilidae)
are found in ponds and streams.
(Elateridae) are herbivorous.
(Meloidae) are herbivorous, and many are
partial to flowers.
(Psephenidae) attach themselves to rocks
or vegetation in streams.
(Scarabaeidae) are commonly found on the
plants that they eat.
(Silphidae) are found primarily on carrion.
(Staphylinidae) are commonly found in or
around carcasses, dung, in fungi, or at streamsides
in decaying vegetation.
beetles (Tenebrionidae) are commonly found
under bark or debris.
MECOPTERA (scorpionflies). Scorpionflies
may be wingless or two-winged. Their wings are
long, narrow, and net-veined. Their mouthparts
are chewing and are located at the tip of a
long, deflexed beak. The last abdominal segments
may be curved upward, like a scorpion. Scorpionflies
are insectivorous and are common on grassy hillsides
and in chaparral.
TRICHOPTERA (caddisflies). Caddisflies
have two pairs of membranous, hairy wings. The
wings are held roof-like over the body when
at rest. The mouthparts are usually vestigial,
but may be adapted for chewing or licking liquids.
Caddisflies are found near water where their
aquatic larvae build elaborate fixed or movable
cases (retreats or homes) with their silk and
grains of sand, pieces of leaves, tiny sticks,
or other objects.
LEPIDOPTERA (butterflies and moths).
Lepidopterans usually have two pairs of wings.
The wings are membranous and, along with the
body, are covered with overlapping scales. The
coiled proboscis is adapted for sucking. Adults
feed on nectar, other plant secretions, honeydew,
and water, as well as rotting matter.
tend to fly by day. The terminal portion of
their antennae is knob- or club-shaped. Their
fore and hind wings overlap, but are not attached.
Butterflies tend to be brightly colored.
are more commonly seen by night. Their antennae
are feathery, sawtoothed, or threadlike, and
are not clubbed. In many moths, the fore and
hind wings are attached. A bristle or series
of bristles (called a frenulum) on base of the
hind wing hooks onto a flap or tuft of scales
(the retinaculum) on the underside of the fore
and longhorn moths (Incurvariidae) are usually
day-flying. The California Yucca moth (Tegeticula
maculata, Incurvariidae) is the only
pollinator for Yucca whipplei. Females
oviposit in the flower then carry pollen to
the stigma. When the larvae emerge, they eat
only a portion of the seed in each pod. This
is their only food.
moths (Torticidae) are usually night-flying.
Their caterpillars are leaf-rollers and feed
on a wide variety of plants.
moths (Pterophoridae) are primarily nocturnal.
They take their name from their feathery hind
wings. Many plume moth larvae bore into bark
or buds. Others eat a variety of leaves.
or grass moths (Pyralidae) can be recognized
easily by their triangular fore wings and snout-like
They comprise a diverse group with some feeding
on leaves, fungi, or mosses, others boring into
roots, scavenging, or preying on other insects.
One subfamily is aquatic; its larvae feed on
looper, or inch worms (Geometridae). These
moths have slender bodies. Their fore wings
are often decorated with wavy lines. They are
primarily nocturnal. The oak winter highflier
(Hydriomena nubilofasciata) is one of
the most common defoliators of coast live oak
(Quercus agrifolia) and other oaks (Quercus
spp.). Other species may be found on Ceanothus
spp., buckwheats (Eriogonum spp.), and
toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia).
silk moths and royal moths (Saturniidae)
often about at dusk feeding on nectar. They
have a long proboscis. They have a thick, heavy
body with long, narrow fore wings. The Ceanothus
silk moth (Hyalophora euryalus) is very
common locally and found on California lilac
(Ceanothus spp.), coffeeberry (Rhamnus
californica), willows (Salix spp.),
and other shrubs. The Polyphemus moth (Antheraea
polyphemus) is also common and is found
in broadleafed trees and shrubs, as well as
hawk, and hummingbird moths (Sphingidae)
are medium to large with streamlined, but stout
bodies. Their fore wings are elongated and have
a strongly oblique outer margin. Their antennae
are knobbed and then tapered toward the tip.
Males have a very long tongue (two to three
times their body length). They feed in deep-throated
flowers and are important pollinators for some
plants. Most are nocturnal. They can be found
around a variety of plants including manzanita
(Arctostaphylos spp.), shrubs in the
Rosaceae, willow (Salix spp.), snowberry
(Symphoricarpos spp.), and low-growing
moths (Notodontidae) are stout moths covered
in scales and hairs. They are nocturnal. They
can be found in oaks (Quercus spp.).
moths and wasp moths (Arctiidae) are stout,
furry moths. They are often brightly colored.
Antennae are feathery in males, filamentous
in females. Most species are nocturnal. They
may be found on lichens, rocks, bark, oaks,
and low-growing herbs.
owlet, and cutworm (Noctuidae) moths are
also stout-bodied. Their fore wings are narrow,
and their hind wings are fan-shaped. The wings
are cryptically colored. Most are nocturnal.
They are common in and near fields and orchards.
and parnassians (Papilionidae) are some
of the showiest butterflies. Most are large
and brightly colored. Swallowtails have "tails"
on their hind wings. The Anise swallowtail (Papilio
zelicaon) is found on sweet fennel (Foeniculum
vulgare) and other members of the Apiaceae.
sulfurs, and orangetips (Pieridae) are medium-sized
butterflies. They are yellow or white with black
markings. They are strong fliers and inhabit
open areas. Many feed on mustards (Brassicaceae)
or plants in the pea family (Fabaceae). The
cabbage butterfly (Pieris rapae) feeds
on cultivated and weedy plants in the Brassicaceae.
The California dogface (Colias eurydice)
is the official California State butterfly.
It is found on false indigo (Amorpha californica)
and other low-growing plants. The Alfalfa sulfur
(Colias eurytheme) is found in alfalfa
fields, as well as natural and ruderal open
hairstreaks, metalmarks, and blues (Lycaenidae)
are small butterflies with metallic blue, coppery,
orange, or gray wings. The undersides of the
wings are usually different colors from the
upper surface. The antennae are often ringed
in white. Most have a very specific food source
such as Dudleya lanceolata and other
species of Dudleya, buckwheats (Eriogonum
spp.), deerweed (Lotus scoparius), dock
(Rumex spp.), and mistletoe (Viscaceae).
Some are listed as sensitive species.
and woodnymphs (Satyridae) are medium-sized
butterflies. They tend to be brown and whitish.
Their wings have rounded margins. Most are dark
with eyelike spots, at least on the undersides.
Their wings are closed at rest. Their flight
pattern is somewhat bouncy, and they often land
on the ground for shelter. They are common in
fritillaries, checkerspots, mourning cloaks,
and admirals (Nymphalidae). Brush-footed
butterflies are so named because their fore
legs are reduced in size and bear long hairs.
They have broad wings and are strong fliers,
often flying long distances. They are found
on many flowering plants. Monarch butterfly
(Danaus plexippus) larvae feed on milkweed
(Asclepias spp.). Adults are found on
willows (Salix spp.), Eucalyptus
spp., Ceanothus spp., and other shrubs.
Chalcedon or common checkerspot (Euphydryas
chalcedona) larvae feed on sticky monkeyflower
(Mimulus aurantiacus) and other figworts
(Scrophulariaceae). The mourning cloak (Nymphalis
antiopa) is found on willow (Salix spp.).
Painted lady (Vanessa cardui) is found
on thistles (Cirsium spp.), mallows (Malva
spp.), and other low-growing plants. The California
sister (Adelpha bredowi) is found in
oaks. Buckeye (Junonia coenia) is found
on plantain (Plantago spp.) and figworts
(Scrophulariaceae). Other butterflies in this
family may be found on nettles (Urtica holosericea),
Ceanothus, or willow (Salix spp.).
(Hesperiidae) are stout-bodied. They have
short wings and large heads. Their common name
comes from their flight pattern which is strong,
but jerky. At rest, their wings are spread out
laterally. They can be found in grasses and
among mallows (Malva spp.)
DIPTERA (Craneflies, gnats, midges, mosquitoes,
and flies) have one pair of wings and a second
pair that has been modified into knobby structures
called halteres. Some species do not have the
wings, but do have halteres. The wings are membranous
and usually transparent. Mouthparts are adapted
for lapping, sponging, or piercing and sucking
liquids. In the suborder Nematocera
(craneflies, gnats, midges, and mosquitoes)
the legs are long and slender, and the antennae
are long and with many similar segments. In
the suborder Brachycera (flies)
the legs are short and stout, and the antennae
are short with one or more segments very different
from the others.
(Tipulidae) are commonly found in damp places
(decaying vegetation, rotting logs, streamsides,
next to ponds, and on mosses) and grasses.
(Sciaridae) are also found in moist places
(decaying vegetation and fungi).
midges (Cecidomyidae). Larvae may feed on
decaying vegetation or fungi. Others are predaceous
on mites and small insects. Some form galls
by boring into California sagebrush (Artemisia
californica) and prickly pear cactus (Opuntia
flies (Simuliidae) are common near streams
flies (Psychodidae) are found in streams
on boulders, logs, and overhanging vegetation.
(Culicidae) can be found near clear standing
water and pools.
midges (Chironomidae) are found near streams,
ponds, and mud.
flies (Stratiomyidae) frequent flowers and
wet places on vegetation.
flies (Tabanidae) can be found near large
mammals, especially horses.
flies (Asilidae) are found in many habitats
and prey on other insects.
flies (Bombyliidae) also are in many habitats,
but are most common in sunny areas with lots
flies (Syrphidae) are generalists, but also
are common near flowers.
flies (Tephritidae) and common in chaparral
and coastal scrub communities.
or trail flies (Drosophilidae) are found
on trails near streams (and often are pesky,
flitting about hikers' eyes).
flies (Muscidae) are common in meadows and
pastures near dung, animals, and humans.
flies (Calliphoridae) are found in flowers,
near fresh dung, and near dead animals.
flies (Sarcophagidae) frequent flowers.
They can also be found on the ground in dry,
rocky areas. They often land on one's skin in
search of moisture.
flies (Tachinidae) feed on nectar and other
exudates of plant and are found near flowers
and low-growing vegetation.
flies (Hippoboscidae) are parasites of birds
and mammals, sucking their blood.
SIPHONAPTERA (Fleas) are wingless parasites
with laterally compressed bodies and jumping
hind legs. They are parasitic on birds and mammals,
sucking their blood.
HYMENOPTERA (Bees, wasps, and ants) have
two pairs of membranous wings or are wingless.
Their mouthparts are adapted for biting. The
abdomen is often very constricted ("wasp-waisted").
Many species are parasitic in the larval stage,
and the ovipositor is adapted for sawing or
piercing so the female can oviposit into the
tissues of plants or other insects. In many
species, the ovipositor is adapted for stinging.
Besides parasitic species, there are others
that are herbivorous, insectivorous, or eat
pollen. Many species are colonial.
(Tenthredinidae) can be found near willows
(Salix spp.) and other broadleafed shrubs,
as well as ferns.
wasps (Braconidae) are parasitoids as larvae,
particularly in Lepidoptera larvae, and some
parasitize Diptera, Coleoptera, and aphids.
(Ichneumonidae) are parasites of other insects
and other arthropods. They are day-fliers.
ants (Mutillidae) have a dense hairy covering.
Females are wingless. Some are nocturnal. They
have a powerful sting. They are found on the
ground, especially in sandy places.
(Formicidae) have elbowed antennae and an
accentuated narrowing between the thorax and
abdomen. The head is broader than the thorax,
and the abdomen is relatively enlarged. Ants
are colonial. Some are parasitic, some carnivorous,
while others eat honeydew excreted by lycaenid
butterflies larvae, aphids, and scale insects.
Others feed on fungi. Many give a painful bite
as well as sting, others sting only.
hornets, and paper nest wasps (Vespidae)
often prey on caterpillars.
wasps or thread-waisted wasps (Sphecidae)
can be thread-waisted or stout-bodied. They
prey on other insects and spiders.
and carpenter bees (Anthophoridae). The
California carpenter bee (Xylocopa californica)
can be found in the dry stalks of Yucca whipplei
where it nests.
bees and honey bees (Apidae) are found in
or near a variety of flowers and harvest nectar
and pollen. Clover and alfalfa are frequented
by bumble bees (which have relatively long tongues).
Honey bees (with their shorter tongues) visit
a variety of smaller flowers.