Getting Identification Help

We've all seen a plant or animal and wondered what it was. Some of us even have an overwhelming need to know what species we've seen! If you can't put a name to it, how can you learn more? Hopefully the NatureSpot web site can help you with an identification.

1. Visit the Species Library

Our Species Library includes images and descriptions of most animals and plants you can find in Leicestershire and Rutland. If you know what type of animal or plant it is, use the menu on the right to go to the relevant page. If you aren't sure then try the Species Library start page to see representative images for each group.

2. Submit a Photo

If you can take a photo - do so! A picture is worth a thousand words. To upload a photo, use the Submit Records form. The form includes simple step by step instructions, but as a further guide:

  1. Just enter a date, a site name and use the map to select the grid reference.
  2. Click on the the What Did You See tab and type '?' in the species box. You MUST select '? unknown' from the drop-down menu that appears.
  3. You will then see an Add Images link at the end of the row. Click on this and the use Select File to browse to your image on your computer. Select the image and watch it load.
  4. Click on SAVE at the bottom of the page and your done!

Keep checking the comments attached to your image. You can always find your image by going to My Images.

3. Describe Your Sighting in the NatureChat forum

If you haven't got a photo it will be more difficult, but you can try describing what you have seen on the NatureChat forum. A NatureSpot editor, or maybe another user, can then try to help.

4. Use other ID Sources

Our ID Resources page provides links and references to a wide range of internet sites and publications that we think offer useful help with identifying species. If you find any other useful sources, please contact us to let us know.

Can Every Species Be identified?

Not every species can be identified from a photograph - though many can. Some insects for example are very similar and can only by reliably separated by close examination. Some plants are distinguishable by flower or fruit which only appear at certain times of year. In most cases however a good photograph can allow an identification to be made, if not to species level then to the close family group in which it belongs. In our Species Library, we endeavour to make it clear in the description if the species cannot be reliably identified from a photograph.