Editors pick – Animal, Plant, and Mineral Identification keys.

Lucid Matrix keys and Pathway keys The upgraded Lucid Builder v4 now allows key authors not only to build matrix keys but also build dichotomous (pathway) keys. See here for information about the differences between the two key types. It is also possible to convert text based dichotomous keys to the Lucid pathway format. Details are provided hereexamples of recent conversions of published dichotomous keys for identifying rice arthropods found in Asian and West African rice fields can be viewed here.

The Lucid Minerals key One of the earliest matrix keys, developed over 24 years ago, was a key for identifying minerals. This key has now been upgraded from Lucid 1 to Lucid 4 and is now freely available online. This key is now available as a Lucid Mobile app on the Google and Apple stores.

Animal and Plant keys. Of the Lucid matrix keys developed for identifying animals and plants over the past 20 plus years, many keys have been developed to support quarantine officers and others concerned with identifying “pests”, and particularly those of biosecurity importance. The initial animal and plant identification keys described below, initially focus on keys that address biosecurity and plant protection concerns. The subsequent “Editors pick” concerns keys that support the identification of species of importance in addressing biodiversity issues. 

Terrestrial Mollusc Tool

The Identification Technology Program (ITP) in the USA

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) established the ITP over 10 years ago. Its purpose – to develop digital identification aids and tools primarily for use by staff in the USDA Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS).


Over the past decade two prominent thrips taxonomists, Laurence Mound in Australia and Gerald Moritz in Germany, together with international colleagues, have authored several Lucid Thrips identification tools.

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AntKey icon


Invasive ants form a small and somewhat distinct subset of ants introduced into new environments by humans.


Mosquitoes have been important vectors of human pathogens for thousands of years; their importance is likely to increase as global warming changes the world-wide distribution of mosquito species.

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Q-bank logo

Invasive plant keys for Europe

A set of keys were developed to facilitate identification during border inspection and verification of interceptions in support of the implementation of the EU regulation regarding invasive alien species.

Aquarium and Pond Plants of the World

The increasing worldwide demand for plants suitable for use in aquariums and ponds has an unfortunate consequence that many of the plant species involved in this trade end up being released into local waterways.

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Lucid Seed Identification Guide Home Screen

Weed seed keys

A website (https://www.idseed.org/), recently launched by the International Seed Morphology Association, aims to “promote collaboration, knowledge sharing, resource development, and research among those who are interested in seed morphology and seed identification”.

Key to Weeds of SE Qld and Northern NSW

Weeds of South-East Queensland and Northern NSW is an identification and information tool covering suburban, rural, environmental and agricultural weeds. 

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Freshwater Molluscs icon

Australian Freshwater Molluscs

The focus of this resource is on Australian freshwater molluscs an extraordinarily diverse group of animals found in in a wide range of natural and man-made habitats, including rivers, streams, lakes, billabongs, ponds, dams, irrigation channels, and desert springs.  

Wattle: Acacias of Australia

The Wattle – Acacias of Australia app (WATTLE ver. 3) enables users to identify wattle plants that occur anywhere in Australia or elsewhere in the world where they are grown. It includes 1,057 formally described species of Acacia, plus several hybrids and informal taxa of this genus.

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IDentifyIt Species icon

Keys for conservation

Many keys have been developed by international agencies concerned with various conservation activities with funding from a range of agencies.

Supporting Biodiversity Research and Planning

The key to Ecosites of Ontario provides a systematic means of determining the classification of a specific site. This can be particularly useful for forest managers, allowing them to make sound silvicultural and resource management decisions.

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Manaaki Whenua (Landcare Research) logo

Keys developed by Manaaki Whenua (Landcare Research) in New Zealand

The aim of Manaaki Whenua (Landcare Research) is to deliver exceptional science and research spanning a wide array of scientific disciplines to support activities in four areas: Biodiversity, Biosecurity, Land and Environment. To help support this goal Lucid keys are being developed to important groups of New Zealand flora.

Australian Rainforest Plant keys

​Research and identification of plant species found in rainforests on mainland Australia is critical to the study and conservation of those rainforest areas that still exist. Based on extensive field and taxonomic research, two major Lucid keys to rainforest plants have been developed – one for the southern, east coast (Rockhampton to Victoria) and the other from Rockhampton to further north.

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