Fun down by the river on a Buglife nature day
STUDY AND IDENTIFICATION OF INVERTEBRATES
WHERE TO START
Why not start by Joining Buglife and get a day out with a bug expert!
Remember that even an expert had to start as a complete novice. Just start with the recognisable ones.
There are several alternative routes to breaking the ice.
- Choose a reasonably small group of invertebrates which are easily recognisable and for which there good identification guides (for example dragonflies, ladybirds or butterflies).
- Photograph invertebrates that attract your interest. Many digital compact cameras have a macro setting that will allow you to focus at close range. There are many online forums that will help you to identify your pictures, but bear in mind that not all invertebrates will be identifiable to species from a photograph photolinks.
- Start by learning the main types of insects and other invertebrates, before attempting to get down to the finer levels of species identification. How do you tell a beetle from a bug, for example? Or a centipede from a millipede?
- Extend out from an existing interest in plants or vertebrates.
If you are already interested in plants, then galls and leaf-mines may be a good starting point. An interest in fungi could extend to the associated invertebrates. Binoculars used for birdwatching can also be ideal for dragonflies and other large insects which can be difficult to approach.
HOW TO FIND INVERTEBRATES
Invertebrates are practically everywhere – you don’t need to travel to a nature reserve to find lots of species. You need to be observant, but knowing where and how to look is half the battle. A few tips:-
- Observe the obvious ones but a keen eye will spot the camouflaged ones.
- Many types of flowers are very good lures.
- Look under stones.
- Rummage in leaf litter and in dead wood.
- If plants leaves have been eaten, find the culprit.
- Beside water there are many types of insects, such as dragonflies.
- Look at a pond for insects on the surface and spot what lurks beneath.
Please follow the links below for more information on how to study invertebrates.