It is a realistic goal to be able to recognise the main groups of insects, and many of the other invertebrates. Identification to species level is only practical if there is a good identification guide. For most people, there are plenty enough ‘do-able’ invertebrates. Some invertebrates remain difficult or very specialist (for example ichneumons).
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Most people will wish to confine themselves to what can be identified live or only ‘captured’ in photographs.
This can also provide a valuable contribution to recording.
A hand lens can aid identification where the naked eye is not enough. The ideal at home is stereomicroscope: x30,or up to x50 is adequate for examination in 3D (as a guide prices need be no higher than for a cheap computer). A monocular microscope is cheaper but only useful when high magnification is essential and the object flat or miniscule, as in a slide preparation. For really microscopic life there is no other way of observing them.
Regrettably it is necessary to kill certain types of invertebrate in order to accurately identify them. Moreover, it may be that a voucher specimen is the only proof that your identification is correct, and can be verified by a specialist. The conservation movement needs reliable information on the fauna of land being managed for conservation purposes. It is far more likely that species will die out through ignorance of its location than through taking a voucher specimen. Of course there is rarely reason or excuse to take or kill the distinctive easily identified species, such as butterflies.
A Code for Collecting Invertebrates