Identify nature

A bee orhid, ophrys apifera, in flower

Identification help via Facebook

Found something interesting? The Museum's identification service has a Facebook group to help answer all you queries on plants, animals, fossils, rocks and minerals found in the British Isles.

Have you found a strange bug or a new plant in your garden, or stumbled across an intriguing animal bone or fossil while out on a country walk? Let us help you find out more about it.

You can use our downloadable guides and mobile apps to identify UK plants and animals and learn more about them.

If you need more help, then our dedicated team at the Museum's Identification and Advisory Service can answer your queries about insects, fossils, plants and other wildlife and natural history specimens found in the UK.

Commercial enquiries

If your business requires advice or an identification of an object from the natural world (such as an insect, tooth, pest ID or CITES identification etc.) please contact our commercial service.

 Common UK plants and animals - downloadable ID guides

Spiders in your home

Guides to some of the commonest spider species you will find in UK homes.

Tree, Gingko biloba


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

Tree identification key PDF (2.6MB)

Bat, Plecotus auritus


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

Bats in flight ID guide PDF (1.4MB)

Common insect pest species in homes

Guides on a number of common insect pest species that can be found in homes and cause damage to food, furniture, clothes and plants.

The bee orchid Ophrys apifera in flower


This guide introduces 29 native species of UK orchid, gives details of how to identify them and where they may be found.

UK Orchids ID guide PDF (16MB)

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)

A pile of seaweed


Find out about some of the seaweeds around the British coast, both native and non-native.

Download the Big Seaweed Search guide PDF(3.4MB)

Visit the Big Seaweed Search webpage to help us record how seaweeds may be being affected by climate change.

Frog, Rana temporaria


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

Amphibians ID guide PDF (367KB)

Badger skull

British Mammal Bones

Identify twelve of the most prevalent wild and domestic mammals in the UK.

Beginner's Guide to Identifying British Mammal Bones (33MB)

Fossil Explorer app

Uncover the ancient plant and animal fossils hidden beneath your feet with our free app. Available for iOS and Android devices.

Specialist guides

Ichneumonid wasp, Ichneumon xanthorius


A guide to 38 of Britain's most recognisable ichneumonid wasps.

Beginner's guide to identifying British ichneumonids PDF (7.8MB)

Dark-red helleborine, Epipactis atrorube

Vegetative guide to orchids

An aid to identifying 39 orchid species when they are not in flower.

Beginner's vegetative guide to orchids of the British Isles PDF (8.8MB)

A sawfly

British Tenthredo (sawflies)

A pictorial guide to the 30 species of Tenthredo sawfly found in Britain.

Beginner’s guide to identifying British Tenthredo PDF (156MB)

Lichens on twigs

An illustrated interactive guide to more than 60 lichens.

British grasses

A multi-access key to the common families of British grasses, on the Tomorrow's Biodiversity website.

Getting help from our experts

The Museum's Identification and Advisory Service can answer your queries about insects, fossils, plants and other wildlife and natural history specimens found in the UK.

You can contact them by email, phone, post, or in person at our Museum in London. Please include as much detail as possible about the specimen, including:

  • A detailed description
  • Where and when you saw it
  • Its approximate size (including a common object, such as a coin, in any photo is helpful)

Email your images and detailed descriptions to: 

  • For life sciences, such as bugs, bones, and plants:
  • For earth sciences, such as meteorites, minerals, rocks and fossils:

Or visit the service's Facebook page.

For other ways to contact the ID team, please visit the Centre for UK Biodiversity's page.

Commercial enquiries

If your business has wildlife identification needs, please contact our commercial service.

Digital nature journal

Save what you've seen in nature, your way, with the Museum’s free digital nature journal. 

The office of the Angela Mamont Centre for UK Biodiversity

Centre for UK Biodiversity

Develop your natural history skills and interests with the help of our staff, facilities and resources.

Citizen science

Contribute to scientific research at the Museum. Take part in a wildlife survey, or help us online utilising the information we hold digitaly.