A Field Guide to Insects of the Pacific Northwest

by Dr. Robert Cannings

Insects are all around us, from the butterflies in our gardens to the mosquitoes in the woods. About 80 per cent of the 1.5 million named species of animals on Earth are insects. A Field Guide to Insects of the Pacific Northwest describes more than fifty species in the region. With full-colour photos of insects in their natural habitats and handy descriptions of species’ anatomy, identification and importance in the ecosystem, this guide showcases the amazing diversity of insects in the Pacific Northwest, and will help everyone learn about the main groups of insects and the exciting details about their lives.


What is an insect? Most of us are familiar with bees, lady beetles and butterflies—but what exactly is an insect? Insects are part of a huge group of animals called arthropods, which also...

Order Zygentoma (Silverfish)

Common Silverfish

Order Ephemeroptera (Mayflies)

Red Speckled Mayfly

Order Odonata (Damselflies and Dragonflies)

Pacific Forktail, Paddle-Tailed Darner

Order Notoptera (Rock Crawlers)

Northern Rock Crawler

Order Mantodea (Mantids)

European Mantid

Order Blattodea (Cockroaches and Termites)

Pacific Coast Dampwood Termite

Order Dermaptera (Earwigs)

European Earwig

Order Orthoptera (Crickets, Katydids and Grasshoppers)

Fork-Tailed Bush Katydid, Migratory Grasshopper

Order Plecoptera (Stoneflies)

Western Giant Stonefly

Order Hemiptera (True Bugs)

Clicking Cicada, Meadow Spittlebug, Oleander Aphid, Chlorochroa Stink Bug, Western Conifer Seed Bug, Kirby’s Backswimmer

Order Neuroptera (Lacewings and Relatives)

Black-Horned Green Lacewing

Order Megaloptera (Dobsonflies and Relatives)

Western Fishfly

Order Raphidioptera (Snakeflies)

Common Snakefly

Order Coleoptera (Beetles)

Searcher Ground Beetle, Pacific Tiger Beetle, Ten-lined June Beetle, Alaska Predaceous Diving Beetle, Shining Click Beetle, Golden Jewel Beetle, Seven-spot Lady Beetle, Golden Flower Long-horn, Black...

Order Hymenoptera (Sawflies, Wasps, Bees and Ants)

Orange Sawfly, Ichneumon Wasp, American Sand Wasp, Thread-waisted Wasp, Carpenter Ant, Western Yellowjacket, Western Bumble Bee, Blue Orchard Bee, Green Sweat...

Order Lepidoptera (Moths and Butterflies)

Western Tiger Swallowtail, Lorquin’s Admiral, Polyphemus Moth, Eyed Sphinx Moth, Western Tent Caterpillar, Dingy Cutworm Moth

Order Trichoptera (Caddisflies)

Northern Caddisfly

Order Mecoptera (Scorpionflies)

Snow Scorpionfly

Order Diptera (True Flies)

Field Mosquito, Spotted Crane Fly, Furious Deer Fly, Slender Assassin, Grasshopper Bee Fly, Aphideater Hover Fly, Gold-patched Tachinid Fly, Common Greenbottle Fly, Spotted Flesh...


Dr. Robert Cannings is Curator Emeritus of Entomology at the Royal British Columbia Museum. He’s been crazy about insects since he was a kid. Although he’s studied many kinds of insects, his...