ID Resources

If you've not already done so, you might like to read the Getting Identification Help page for guidance on how to use the NatureSpot site for help. The resources below offer further help for you to identify and/or find out more about about the wildlife species you can find in Leicestershire and Rutland. For each wildlife group, we have tried to select internet resources as well as books. If you can recommend other ideas, please contact us with details.

Where appropriate, the book references offer links to where the prices are normally very competitive. If you buy from these links you will pay nothing extra but will help to generate a small commission to help NatureSpot. Thank you.



Amphibians & Reptiles





Bees, Wasps, Ants

Dragonflies and Damselflies


Lacewings & Scorpionflies

Slugs and Snails

Mosses and Liverworts

Other groups

General - internet General - books

The Garden Safari is a great site for a images and information about a wide range of creatures that can be found in gardens.

Insects - internet   Insects - books
  Collins Guide to the Insects of Britain and Western Europe (Collins Pocket Guide) - an excellent guide to all insects, with a good beetle section.
Caterpillars - internet Caterpillars - books
  Field Guide to the Caterpillars of Britain and Europe (Collins Field Guide)  - includes moths and butterflies. Illustrations are not the best but it does usefully group caterpillars by their food plants.
  The Colour Identification Guide to Caterpillars of the British Isles: (Macrolepidoptera) - photographic guide.
Flies - internet Flies - books - a forum site with some photos but best used to get identification help. Just upload an image and be surprised how quickly you get a response. British Soldierflies and Their Allies: A Field Guide to the Larger British Brachycera - a sister publication to the hoverfly book above.
Fly anatomy  -a fascinating and interactive guide to the technical bits that make up a fly! If you're serious about identifying flies it is necessary to understand the terms used.  
http://www.biolog...mw_197.htm - Canadian photo key to cluster flies (Pollenia) - most are also found in Britain.  
Mike's Insect Keys - an excellent range of free illustrated keys to many fly families.  
Grasshoppers & Crickets - internet Grasshoppers & Crickets - books
Orthoptera & Allied Insects (of the UK) - an excellent site with detailed accounts and pictures of all UK species. Grasshoppers and Allied Insects of Great Britain and Ireland - excellent, though expensive, guide with high quality illustrations and UK distribution maps. Covers crickets, cockroaches and earwigs.
David Element's Gallery - useful catalogue of orthopteran photos, though layout is limited.  
Barkflies & Booklice - internet Barkflies & Booklice - books
Barkflies - National Recording Scheme - excellent guide to Pscoptera. Good gallery plus a superb on-line key to guide you to an identification.  
Spiders, Harvestmen & Mites - internet Spiders, Harvestmen & Mites - books
Eurospiders - high quality images of many species (not just British). Spiders of Britain and Northern Europe (Collins Field Guide)  - has detailed descriptions of just about all UK species and very technical identification advice. The illustrations are OK and don't always show males and females, even though they can be very different.
Spiders of Europe - a very good site with a photo guide to families to help you find the right area. Harvestmen of the British Isles - one of the fold-out charts produced by the Field Studies Council - excellent value.
Harvestmen of Nottinghamshire - excellent photos and descriptions. Particularly useful as it is our neighbouring county with similar species. Harvestmen (Synopsis of the British Fauna) - though pricey (£29) this is THE book to get if you are serious about this group.
The Harvestmen and Spider Recording Website has information, distribution maps and some images of UK species.  
Centipedes & Millipedes - internet  Centipedes & Millipedes - books
British Myriapod Recording Group - a useful portal to resources such as keys for miilipedes, centipedes and woodlice. Atlas of the Millipedes (Diplopoda) of Britain and Ireland (Pensoft Series Faunistica) - useful information about the distribution of all UK species but not helpful for identification.
  Key to the Identification of British Centipedes - an AIDGAP guide published by the Field Studies Council. An essential guide to a difficult group.
Woodlice, Crustaceans - internet Woodlice, Crustaceans - books
British Myriapod and Isopod Recording Group - a useful portal to resources such as keys for miilipedes, centipedes and woodlice. A Key to the Woodlice of Britain and Ireland - part of the AIDGAP series produced by the Field Studies Council. Excellent. Includes good photos as well as the key.
  Woodlice and Waterlice (isopoda: Oniscidea & Asellota) in Britain and Ireland - includes photos, descriptions and distribution maps. Has useful photos to help with identification, though not designed as an id guide.
Worms - internet Worms - books
OPAL Earthworm Guide - great photo library and a downloadable key to the more common species.  
Wildflowers - internet Wildflowers - books

British Wild Flowers - an enthusiast's photo site. Comprehensive photo library but only one species at a time.

Interactive Flora of NW Europe - Descriptions and photos of 3525 species by Clive Stace, plus a glossary and a "Knowledge Test" - a highly addictive ID quiz!

Plant ID Keys - useful for beginners.

BSBI Plant Identification - lots of resources for helping you to identify that plant!

The Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland: A New Guide to Our Wild Flowers (Tandem) - a classic illustrated field guide.

Flora of Leicestershire - free pdf download (be patient, it's a large file!)

The Vegetative Key to the British Flora - Poland, J. & Clement, E. This book has revolutionised plant ID since 2009 and doubles the length of the recording season. Beginner-friendly, as you very quickly get the ID or it's obvious how you've gone wrong. 

Trees, Shrubs & Climbers - internet Trees, Shrubs & Climbers - books
  Collins Tree Guide - a comprehensive guide though includes European species too.
Grasses, Sedges & Rushes - internet Grasses, Sedges & Rushes - books
  Sedges of the British Isles (BSBI Handbooks) - an essential guide and by far the BSBI's biggest seller, and deservedly so.
Ferns and Horsetails - internet Ferns and Horsetails - books

Key to Common Ferns - very useful, and affordable, guide from the Field Studies Council.

The Fern Guide: A Field Guide - another excellent FSC publication, this part of the AidGap series.

Galls - internet Galls - books
British Plant Gall Society web site British Plant Galls keys [Redfern, Shirley &
Bloxham 2011]
- one of the Aidgap series.
Lichen - internet Lichen - books

Lichens: An Illustrated Guide to the Bitish and Irish Species - this is the book to get if you want the best available.

The Field Studies Council's guides are an excellent introduction to identifying the more common lichens and are very affordable.

Guide to Common Churchyard Lichens

Guide to Common Urban Lichens: On Trees and Wood

Guide to Common Urban Lichens: On Stones and Soil

Guide to Lichens of Heaths and Moors