iSpot keys for identifying wildlife

Identification keys are designed to help you work out what type of wildlife you have seen, by answering a series of questions about the species you are looking at. The identification keys on iSpot have been designed using a novel approach based on Bayesian statistics, and may be different from other keys that you have encountered.

Simply describe your specimen by answering as many questions as you can, and iSpot will sort through the list of species it knows about and suggest which is most likely. When a species is starred, you have a good match - check the description to confirm your identification, and follow the links for more information. Unlike a traditional branching (‘dichotomous’) key, you don't have to answer questions in a fixed order. Our keys use probabilities: simply, the more evidence you can provide, the more definite your identification will be.

Keys for OPAL surveys

The iSpot keys cover a range of different species groups, including several that can help if you are carrying out the surveys set up by OPAL (Open Air Laboratories):

OPAL air survey

OPAL biodiversity survey

OPAL soil and earthworm survey

OPAL water survey

For more information, read our help page on using iSpot identification keys.

Follow this link to see the full list of available keys.

Using identification keys on mobiles

We now also have the same keys formatted for use on a mobile phone or other small screen device. In your mobile web browser, click or enter this link to use the mobile keys:
Please let us know what you think!


We are interested in your feedback to help us improve our keys. You can do this in two ways: