Grey squirrel

Identification guides and resources

The following resources will help you identify some of the common British plants and animals.

Plants and fungi


Tree ID poster (PDF, 2.4MB)


Part of the OPAL tree health survey.

Tree guide (PDF, 2.8MB)


Part of the OPAL air survey.


Hedgerow plants

Hedgerow guide (PDF, 3.4MB)


An illustrated guide to common hedgerow plants.

Part of the OPAL biodiversity survey.




Duckweed guide (PDF 264KB)


You'll find duckweeds floating on the surface of many ponds and lakes.

Discover the six most common species.

Part of the OPAL water survey.



Seaweed guide (PDF, 2MB)


A guide to common seaweeds you can find on the British coast.

Part of the Big Seaweed Search.

Look for invasive marine species – Sealife Tracker app.



Bee Orchid
Bee Orchids (PDF, 915KB)


Discover Bee Orchids and their relatives, and help NHM scientists track the spread of this species.



Urban ferns (PDF, 2.16MB)


A guide to eight common wall ferns that can be spotted around British towns and cities.



Lichens guide (PDF, 2.2MB)


A simple guide to nine common lichens.

Part of the OPAL air survey.



Orchard lichens and mosses

A moss commonly found in orchards
Orchard lichens (PDF 13MB)
Orchard mosses (PDF 11.7MB)


Guides to the lichens and mosses commonly found in orchards, especially in the East of England.




Dragonflies and damselflies

Dragonfly guide (PDF, 311KB)


A guide to the most common dragonflies and damselflies.

Part of the OPAL water survey.



Earthworm key (PDF, 621KB)


A simple illustrated key to nine common British earthworms.

Part of the soil and earthworm survey.


Aquatic invertebrates


(PDF, 179MB)

Water boatman or water beetle? Identify aquatic invertebrates living in your pond.

Part of the OPAL water survey.

House spiders

Zebra jumping spider


(PDF, 1.4MB)

Learn more about the different species that share our living spaces and what time of year you can find them.



Moth Tips 1 (PDF, 2.65MB) – tips on how to trap moths and useful tools available to identify them


Moth Tips 2 (PDF, 4.8MB) – a guide to common species of British moths


Moth Tips 3 (PDF, 3.25MB) – a guide to identifying micro-moth families



Common invertebrates


Pocket invertebrate guide (PDF, 935KB) – includes facts and ID tips. Part of the Bugs Count survey.


Natural History Museum bug forum – explore images of common creepy crawlies





Amphibians (PDF, 434KB)


Know your frogs from your toads with this guide to common amphibians.

Part of the OPAL water survey.


Discover classification – teacher pack


Aimed at Key Stage 3, this resource pack includes lesson plans to support the teaching of biological classification.



Heathland field guide

Tree Pipit


(PDF, 3.2MB)

A free guide to the reptiles, invertebrates, birds and plants that make their home in heathland


Bats in flight

Brown Long-eared Bat


(PDF, 1.36MB)

Key details to help you identify five of the most common species you can see in our skies.



Still struggling? Identify anything and everything with help from these online communities

OPAL iSpot – Upload your wildlife pictures and a community of experts and enthusiasts will identify them.
Identification forums on the Natural History Museum website – Get help with identifying everything from fossils to birds.