Living things and their habitats resources

On this page you'll find a variety of films, articles and downloadable resources that can help support the teaching of topics within the Living Things and Their Habitats science units.

Life cycle and food chains


Butterflies emerge from their chrysalises

Watch as a flutter of blue morphos (Morpho peleides) emerge from their pupal state.

Meet the migrating monarchs

Follow the remarkable migration of an iconic butterfly species.

The bizarre love life of the anglerfish

The anglerfish lives in the dark depths of the ocean, which makes finding a mate challenging.

What can survive a wildfire?

We might think of fire as a destructive force, but for some plants it’s the path to perfect growing conditions.

Are spiders good mothers?

Many spiders protect their eggs with a silk pouch, but there's a species of jumping spider that takes things one step further.

Parasite in motion: Schistosomiasis

Our stop-motion video follows the life cycle of Schistosoma, a life-threatening parasite that can live in water, snails and even people.




Naming nature, putting life in order

How do you name and categorise 80 million specimens, let alone all known life on Earth?

Spot the difference: butterfly or moth?

With so many similarities between moths and butterflies, how can we tell the two apart?

A film about Carl Linnaeus

Carl Linnaeus made it his life's work to develop and refine a way to classify and name all life on Earth.

Identification guides and keys

Zebra spider

Spiders in your home

Find out about six species of spider that you are likely to spot at home.

Spider ID guide PDF (1.4MB)

Tree, Gingko biloba


Identify evergreen and deciduous trees with this step-by-step guide.

Tree identification key PDF (2.6MB)

Frog, Rana temporaria


Discover more about the frogs, toads and newts found in British ponds.

Amphibians ID guide PDF (367KB)

A bumblebee on a flower

Pocket bumblebee guide

A pocket-sized ID guide to the six main species of UK bumblebees.

Bumblebee ID guide PDF (769KB)

Bat, Plecotus auritus


Learn the key identifying features of five of Britain's most common bats.

Bats in flight ID guide PDF (1.4MB)

Leafsnap UK app

Identify trees with our free iPhone app. It includes leaf recognition technology and high-res images of 156 tree species in Britain.

Quizzes and articles



How does a polar bear stay warm?

There is more to polar bear fur than meets the eye. Mammals Curator Roberto Portela Miguez explains.

Show a bit more love to the humble earthworm

There are 27 different species of earthworm in the British Isle, and they have important work to do.

Fungi: undervalued jewels of the urban jungle

Just metres from some of Britain's busiest roads, micro-forests of fungi sprout from the undergrowth.

Spring walk

Join Fred Rumsey, botanist at the Natural History Museum, as he goes in search of wildlife on a spring walk at Warley Place Nature Reserve.

Summer walk

Join botanist Fred Rumsey as he goes on a coastal walk in search of plants living in extreme conditions at West Wittering Beach, West Sussex.

How do rodents carry out 'whisk' assessments?

Dr Robyn Grant explains how dormice use their whiskers to help them navigate at night.

Articles, quizzes and how-tos

Human impact on environments


Goodbye to the baiji, the Yangtze River dolphin

The extraordinary Yangtze River dolphin was the only member of an entire mammal family.

Plants under pressure

The world has more than 380,000 plant species: one in five are at risk of extinction.

Tiger conservation breeding

The future of the tiger is hanging by a thread. Their populations and habitat have halved in the past 20 years and less than 5,000 wild tigers survive.

Naturalists, explorers and expeditions


Borneo biodiversity count

Join a team of Museum scientists as they survey the incredible diversity of insects living in the rainforests of Borneo.

Collecting on the Isles of Scilly

A field trip to the Isles of Scilly to gather fresh, good quality specimens to add to the Museum's collections.

Join a dive to see the largest corals on Earth

Follow the Catlin Seaview Survey team in American Samoa as they dive in search of Big Momma, the world's largest recorded coral.