Insect and spider identification guides and keys

With approximately 700 native species of spider in the UK and up to 165,000 species of butterfly and moth worldwide, it can be hard to identify insects and spiders accurately. Here are some tools to make recognition easier, including step-by-step keys and comprehensive lists of world species. They cover bugs found in UK homes and gardens as well as tropical varieties.

  • A bumblebee,  Bombus sp., in the Museum's Wildlife Garden
    List of world bumblebees

    This checklist of the world's bumblebees aims to address some of the naming problems of the past.

  • A pair of woodlouse spiders, Dysdera crocata
    UK spider bites

    It may come as a surprise that a dozen or more spider species resident in the UK are capable of causing a significant bite. Read about cases submitted to the Natural History Museum for identification.

  • Bilberry bumbleebee, Bombus monticola
    Bumblebees in the UK

    View stunning rotating images of bumblebees and read about the status of these important pollinators in the UK.

  • A bumblebee, Bombus sp., collecting nectar from a flower
    British bumblebee identification guide

    This easy-to-use key will help you identify British bumblebees by looking at their colour patterns.

  • The swallowtail or common lime butterfly, Papilio demoleus, found in Sri Lanka, India and Australia
    Butterflies and moths of the world

    Butterflies and moths of the world is a catalogue of all known genera of butterflies and moths.