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Insect Identification Key
Who We Are

Leslie Mertz, Ph.D.

Leslie Mertz, Ph.D.

B.A. communication (journalism), minor in biological sciences, Wayne State University.
M.S. biological sciences, Wayne State University
Ph.D. biological sciences, cognate in outdoor education, Wayne State University

Experience with Insects
Insects have always been fascinating creatures to me, and that interest was nurtured by Dr. Stanley Gangwere, former president of the Michigan Entomological Society, founder of the Orthopterists' Society and former director of WSU's Fish Lake Biological Program. After taking his Entomology and Insect Biology courses, I became one of his doctoral students, and was fortunate to travel to the Canary Islands on one of his expeditions in search of grasshoppers, walkingsticks, mantids and other insects. I and another graduate student spent many hours in the field sweeping insect nets, and identifying and pinning specimens for university collections. At the same time, I was conducting my own study of the diversity of amphibians and reptiles in Michigan.

Following my education at Wayne State, I began to teach at the university's Fish Lake program and have since taught a wide variety of field courses for Eastern Michigan University and at Northwestern Michigan College. I currently teach field courses at EMU's Kresge Environmental Education Center near Lapeer and EMU's Parsons Center for the Study of Arts and Science near Traverse City.

Books, Etc.
I have also written several books including: Extreme Bugs and Extreme Dinosaurs for the Smithsonian through Harper Collins; four volumes of Grzimek's Student Animal Life Resource through Thompson Gale; Driving Michigan: Mile by Mile on I-75 through Arbutus Press; and others. And I continue to write nature and science articles for a variety of magazines and other print and online outlets.

Insects (continued)
In addition to the insect and other field courses I teach, I spend many, many enjoyable hours in the field on my own searching for, identifying and photographing insects. They truly are amazing and wondrous creatures!

I hope you enjoy this key!

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Photos at the top of this website are (from left to right): potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) — photo credit: Scott Bauer, U.S. Department of Agriculture; ebony jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata)— photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; sweat bee (Agapostemon splendens) — photo credit: Natalie Allen and Stephanie Kolski, U.S. Geological Survey; preying mantis, monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), hellgrammite (aka toe biter) larva and eyed click beetle (Alaus oculatus) — photo credit: Leslie Mertz,; Halloween pennant (Celithemis eponina) — photo credit: Kay Meng, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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