Identification support

Tools, apps, and screening aids

ID tools: Built around a matrix-based Lucid key and corresponding fact sheets, ITP’s ID tools offer a wealth of information for PPQ and a variety of other users who need to screen for or identify plant pests and diseases. Tools are authored by taxonomic experts and are either taxon-based or commodity-based. They may also include image galleries, glossaries, references, and other customized identification support and background information.
Apps: Many of the Lucid keys from ITP's tools are also available as mobile apps. Keys designed for use at ports of entry and in field surveys are offered as Lucid Mobile apps for use on hand-held devices with or without internet access. Lucid Mobile apps include the key, images, and fact sheets from the tools, as well as some supporting material. Currently, all of ITP’s apps are in Lucid Mobile format, but ITP hopes to expand app offerings in the future. ITP’s Lucid Mobile apps are available for both iOS and Android operating systems.
Screening aids: ITP develops screening aids to support the Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) community. Screening aids are intended to be used by persons screening traps for CAPS target pests, and each aid includes background information on the pest, basic sorting, level 1 and level 2 screening, keys, references, and detailed photos of targets, non-targets, and diagnostic characters. ITP's screening aids use a standardized format designed to be clear, thorough, and user-friendly. Screening aids are available in both print-quality high-resolution and quick-downloading low resolution versions.

Find a tool, app, or screening aid

Bugwood ITP Node

Each ITP ID tool includes hundreds or thousands of high-quality images produced by taxon experts. The Bugwood ITP Node is the easiest way to gain access to these images for re-use in a variety of ways. All original images from each tool are uploaded via a customized backend (IDpic) to the ITP Node on, where this growing collection of tens of thousands of images is easily accessible.

Visit ITP Node


imageID is a searchable online collection of high-quality images of plant pest taxa of concern to PPQ. imageID is specifically designed to support PPQ identifiers by serving as a central image repository where image collections from individual ports and various other sources can be viewed by all PPQ identifiers. The collection also includes helpful identification aids such as detailed morphology illustrations, interception statistics, and host/origin information.
Access to imageID is currently restricted to USDA APHIS PPQ.
Contact ITP about imageID

ID Aids

ITP maintains an ongoing collection of websites and web-based tools that supports identification of plant pests of concern to PPQ. Each ID Aid is thoroughly reviewed and evaluated to ensure it has value and is from a reputable source. This collection of over 3,000 ID Aids includes both web- and app-based image galleries, keys, fact sheets, screening aids, pest alerts, molecular identification tools, and more. All groups of plant pests are represented.
ITP's ID Aid data (descriptive information and links to the ID Aids) are available for use in websites and other media by plant regulatory organizations and government agencies that share PPQ's plant protection goals.

Contact ITP about using ID Aid data

Data collection

Fact Sheet Manager

Fact Sheet Manager (FSM) is a web-based application that helps ITP bridge the gap between taxonomic expertise and the internet. FSM is the interface that allows taxon experts to easily upload text and images for their tool's fact sheets into ITP’s online database. Data are pulled into the fact sheets, as well as the glossary, references, and image gallery, and are displayed on the web in real time. FSM facilitates collaboration among authors and allows edits and corrections to be made on the fly, a huge benefit both during the development process and also for post-release updates. FSM has allowed ITP to better standardize tool development and increase the quality of tool content.


IDpic is another ITP product used to disseminate taxonomic knowledge, allowing for easy access to the thousands of high-quality image collections from ITP's ID tools. IDpic is the image contributor interface for the Bugwood ITP node, where tool authors upload their images and associated data, such as specimen records, taxon information, descriptions, etc.

Access to FSM and IDpic is currently limited to tool authors and contributors.

ITP Molecular Laboratory

Molecular diagnostics

The ITP Molecular Laboratory designs and develops taxon-specific assays to detect and diagnose economically important insects, especially Lepidoptera. Molecular diagnostics developed in the ITP Molecular Lab support PPQ’s mission of safeguarding U.S. agriculture by strengthening pest exclusion at ports-of-entry and allowing for more efficient and accurate identification of both targets and non-targets encountered in domestic pest management programs.
The ITP Molecular Lab coordinates Helicoverpa diagnostics development for both ports-of-entry and CAPS surveys. Other ongoing projects include the development of species-specific molecular assays for various insect plant pests and the identification of all stages of Lepidoptera for various organizations using DNA barcoding.

Identification tool support

The ITP Molecular Laboratory directly supports ITP through the use of molecular diagnostics to identify or verify identifications of taxa included in ITP’s various identification tools and screening aids. In some instances molecular sequences, such as DNA barcodes, are incorporated directly into an ID tool to allow for users to verify identifications using molecular data.