Types of Fingerprints

Fingerprints are a biometric form of identification that is common used in criminal investigation and forensic science. Fingerprints are formed from the papillary ridges on the tip of the finger. There are three main types of fingerprints-- loop, arch, and whorl. Of these main types, there are multiple subcategories for each.


About 65% of fingerprints are classified as loop fingerprints. These are distinct in that loop fingerprints have one delta and one core.


There are about 5% of fingerprints that are arched. The ridges that go from one side of the finger to the other do not move in a backwards motion, making the arch fingerprint unique from the loop and whorl.


Whorl fingerprints make up about 30% of all fingerprints. The whorl fingerprint can be identified by its unique having of at least two deltas.