Insects can be quite colorful, with distinct markings that are unique to a certain species. You cannot identify a butterfly without knowing the colors and patterns on its wings. Some beetles have iridescent forewings; others display spots or stripes. But it’s not just insect wings that come in every color of the rainbow. Their bodies may also have unique and colorful markings. Monarch butterflies are known for their orange and black wings, but many people don’t notice the white polka dots on their black bodies.
Note any colors and patterns on the wings and the body of your mystery insect. If there are dots or stripes, try to count them. Some species mimic the colors of others as a means of fooling predators, so your observations need to be as specific as possible.
Photo credits: (top) © Debbie Hadley, WILD Jersey; (bottom) Russ Ottens, University of Georgia, Bugw