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 image galleries and species pages

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 home page 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. Whilst looking for a visual match works well for most larger species, it isn't always reliable and especially not for invertebrates, fungi and many plants. Our Red/Amber/Green Identification Difficulty ratings provide a good guide to help you navigate around this issue. If you are new to wildlife recording, it's best to concentrate on green-rated species to begin with.

At the top of each gallery page we have provided a list of books, websites, social media and other resources that can help you to find out more and to identify species in that group. Where these resources are specific to a subgroup you will find these in the relevant section further down the gallery.

2. Use the help forum

If you can take a photo - do so! A picture is worth a thousand words. Even better, take several photos from different angles. The key characters needed to identify a species may not be visible from a general photo. The NatureChat forum provides a good opportunity to share your photos with others who may be able to help you with an identification. Post a message with your image(s) on our ID Help forum.

3. Social media & websites

Many types of wildlife have their own Facebook groups that offer expert identification help just for that taxon and where these are known they are listed in the galleries. The more specialist the group, the more likely you are to get reliable identification help.

4. Identification apps

There is a growing list of apps that claim to identify wildlife. Some can be very helpful but it is best to treat the results as a pointer rather than a definate identification. See our Apps for Identification page for more details.