Invertebrates - UK and Ireland : The term Invertebrates covers a very broad group, including insects, worms, molluscs, arachnids, and many others, that tends to get lumped together under the heading 'bugs' or 'mini-beasts'. The vast majority of all animal species are invertebrates,
The term "Invertebrates" covers a very broad group, including insects, worms, molluscs, arachnids, and many others, that tends to get lumped together under the heading 'bugs' or 'mini-beasts'. The vast majority of all animal species are invertebrates, and estimates of the number of species in the UK range up to 30,000 or more.
Within this huge number of species there are animals that specialise in almost every conceivable habitat, and their life-cycles are correspondingly varied.
We will be providing additional information on the individual groups of invertebrates, but for now the list of links below just gives some examples for the major groups.
Photography for identification
The characters needed for identification vary between the different groups, so the general advice is to try and get shots from various angles, including close-ups and more distant habitat shots for context. Size matters! If there is nothing in your photo to give a sense of scale you should measure or estimate the size and keep a note of that.
- Amateur Entomologists' Society.
- British Entomological and Natural History Society.
- Buglife - Invertebrate Conservation Trust.
- Identify British bugs - Natural History Museum.
bees, wasps and ants
- UK Ladybird Survey.
- The Coleopterist - journal for beetle recorders, lots of info on website.
- Watford Coleoptera Group - local group providing useful online identification resources.
butterflies and moths
- UK Butterflies - lots of information and photos.
- Butterfly Conservation - dedicated to the recording and conservation of butterflies, moths and their habitats.
- UK Moths - photos of most moths in the UK.
- Moths Count - the National Moth Recording Scheme.
dragonflies and damselflies
- Dipterists Forum - leading UK society for studying and recording flies.
- Hoverfly Recording Scheme (one of the recording schemes within the Dipterists Forum 'family').
grasshoppers and crickets
- Orthopteroids Recording Scheme - grasshoppers, crickets and allied insects such as earwigs.
- British Bugs.
- Land and water bug recording schemes.
- Auchenorrhyncha recording scheme - leafhoppers, planthoppers, froghoppers, treehoppers and cicadas.
- Riverfly Recording Schemes - caddisflies, mayflies, stoneflies.
- UK Collembola taxonomy and ecology - springtails.
Scheme - Psocoptera (also known as booklice or barklice).
- OPAL earthworm guide.
- British Arachnological Society - spiders and allies.
- Conchological Society
of Great Britain and Ireland - molluscs (slugs and snails).
- British Plant Gall Society.
There are local invertebrate groups in many counties, to find out about yours try contacting your local Environmental Records Centre or Wildlife Trust. See also Nature Societies Online from the Natural History Museum.
- Marine invertebrates are recorded as part of the MarLIN project, which has online identification resources and recording forms.
- The Marine Biological Association promotes research into marine life, publishes a range of journals and other resources including the Marine Life Information Network (MarLIN), and runs events and courses.
- Seasearch works with volunteer divers to record marine habitats, as well as running projects on particular species.
- The Marine Conservation Society promotes the conservation of marine habitats and species.