The formula has 3 numbers a-b-c, starting with the front leg (a), then the middle leg (b), then the hind leg (c). For example, a tarsal formula of "5-5-4" means there are 5 segments in the fore leg's tarsi, 5 segments in the middle leg's tarsi, and 4 segments in the hind leg's tarsi. This character is especially useful at family rank and higher.
The characteristic is useful when identifying insects.
References[change | change source]
- Waterbug key. 
- "tarsus, tarsi, tarsomere, tarsal formula - BugGuide.Net". bugguide.net.