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Insect & Mite Identification Service
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1 - Insect & Mite Identification Service
2 - Submission Requirements
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Insect & Mite Identification Service

SEL scientists actively collaborate with members of academia, providing taxonomic support for a broad range of basic and applied biological projects. Every attempt is made to provide timely service; however, our scientists' diversity of commitments and shortage of technical support staff limit the speed at which identification requests can be completed. The information that follows includes suggestions of steps you can take to facilitate the processing of your specimens.

General Considerations

  • Provide tentative IDs. In most cases, you should be able to provide tentative IDs to at least the family level. This information is essential for CTSU staff to assign your specimens to the appropriate specialist. By providing tentative IDs you decrease the amount of time CTSU requires to process your submission.
  • Sort your specimens. If you are submitting a mixed-lot, please sort your specimens by family. Separating taxa and repackaging them for distribution to multiple specialists can be a time-consuming task, especially for very large, diverse lots.

  • Contact specialists prior to submission. SEL scientists have a variety of professional commitments that limit the time they have available to perform routine identifications. If time is a factor in your research, you will likely find it advantageous to contact specialists prior to submission and inquire about projected turn-around times.
  • Submit your specimens to CTSU. If you send specimens directly to scientists, there is a greater probability that your specimens will be misplaced or lost. CTSU maintains a database of all pending SEL identifications, and this system allows us to keep track of submissions within the lab.

Submission Requirements


  • When identifications are used in publications, please acknowledge the contributing taxonomist(s) and include the taxon or group of taxa idenitified as well as their professional affiliation. The following is a suggested format for citations:

    Name of Taxonomist (taxon), Systematic Entomology Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, US Department of Agriculture

  • When available, please send reprints of publications where identifications are reported to CTSU.

Contact Information

Communications & Taxonomic Services Unit
USDA-ARS-Systematic Entomology Laboratory
Building 003, Room 328, BARC-West
10300 Baltimore Avenue
Beltsville, MD 20705-2350


phone: 301.504.7041
FAX: 301.504.6482

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