Insect and Spider Identification Service

Featured Louisiana insect, the cactus bug (Chelinidia vittiger). This member of the true bug (Hemiptera) family Coreidae is related to the squash bug. It feeds only on prickly pear cactus and in Louisiana is most commonly encounted on our native sprawling prickly pear, Opuntia humifusa. This specimen is part of a series collected from prickly pear near Lucky, Louisiana. Photo Jong-Seok Park, Louisiana State Arthropod Museum.

Need an insect identified?

The LSAM provides insect identification and diagnostic services to Louisiana and beyond.

The LSAM serves the needs of the citizens of Louisiana as a source of insect and related arthropod identifications and information. LSAM staff typically identify over 2000 specimens each year for the faculty, staff, and graduate students of LSU, the Cooperative Extension Service, branch research stations, other universities, museums and institutions, state and federal agencies, pest control operators, agricultural consultants, businesses, and the general public. Numerous visitors use the collection each year for identifications, information about taxonomy and nomenclature, historical literature, terminology, techniques, life history, distribution, hosts, and/or economic importance of various insects. 

Mailing address:

Louisiana State Arthropod Museum
Department of Entomology, LSB 404
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-1710

Our e-mails are: Chris Carlton, Director ( or Victoria Bayless, Curator (



Please read the following before submitting samples or photographs.

  1. Basic service, identification and diagnosis - $20 per sample or submitted photograph(s) (multiple photos of the same species count as one). Multiple samples involving different organisms are charged at $20 each. Payment may be made online at the LSU AgCenter Store site. A confirmation of payment will automatically be sent to us. You may also pay by check written out to "LSU AgCenter" and sent to the above address. LSU AgCenter faculty and staff are exempt from the diagnostic fee.

    We will provide an accurate identification, a brief biological summary, and diagnosis of entomological problems that may be associated with the organisms in question. In many cases, we can also provide links to online information that may be informative. We are not always able to provide exact species determinations, and our ability to identify poorly preserved specimens is limited. We do not endorse or recommend specific pest control products.

  2. Additional taxonomic services - $30/hr. We will conduct additional research if requested after the initial inquiry has been dealt with. Examples of these services include researching details of biology of identified organisms, more detailed taxonomic work, contacting and forwarding inquiries to other specialists, providing comparative photographs of identified museum specimen, etc. We can usually provide an estimate for these services upon request before additional charges are incurred. We do not currently have an online payment system for these services but arrangements can be made by e-mailing the Curator at the address above.
  3. Response times. Typically, we can provide information about submitted samples within three to five working days of when we receive samples. Turnaround for electronically submitted inquiries and digital photographs is usually faster.
  4. Submitting photographs. You can e-mail digital photos to us as attached files instead of sending the specimens. Poor images or failure to show diagnostic features limit our ability to provide a precise identification, so we may request submission of a physical sample as a followup. Photographs of damage to plants is often useful in diagnosing potential causal organisms. Inquiries and digital photo attachments should be sent to the e-mails above. Feel free to submit requests to both e-mails in the event one of us is out of the office.
  5. Submitting specimens and/or samples. For physical samples, package the specimen(s) securely and please do not mail glass containers in soft packages or envelopes. A cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol can be used to capture and preserve small insects, then sealed in a ziplock bag. Dried specimens should be padded between layers of tissue and protected in small boxes. Do not mail live insects.
  6. Please include the following information for all submissions.
    Date of collection or observation
    Location and circumstances of collection and why you want the specimen identified.
    Describe problems, if any, that may be associated with the organism.
    Plant or animal hosts if relevant.
    Name(s) and address(es) or collectors.
    Your contact information (e-mail preferred).
  7. Downloadable forms. For your convenience, we provide Word Document and PDF forms that can be downloaded and filled out. The form can be sent with the physical sample or submitted as an attachment along with digital photographs.


    The LSAM is primarily a research collection and we do not maintain any public exhibits at our facility in the Life Science Building, nor do we have the space and staff to accommodate tour groups. Individuals wishing to visit the LSAM are welcome, but we ask that you call or e-mail us first to set up an appropriate time. This ensures that someone will be here to show you the collection and answer questions.

    Visits to local schools are coordinated by volunteers in the Entomology Club, our departmental graduate student organization. A representative may be reached by calling the department's office at (225) 578-1634.