Freshwater invertebrates survey methods and ID guides

An emperor dragonfly alighted on a grass stem

An emperor dragonfly (Anax imperator)  © ianpreston, licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

Freshwater invertebrates are an important part of the freshwater ecosystem and food chain, and they can also tell us a lot about the health of a waterbody.

If you'd like to learn how to look for them, we've gathered a selection of survey methods and identification guides. We have surveys and guides both for beginners, and for those with a little more experience.

Download the full catalogue (PDF 1.4MB), or read the highlights below.

Nature Recording Hub

Discover how to record the wildlife in your urban environment.

Freshwater invertebrate survey methods and ID guides catalogue

Download the full list of freshwater invertebrate surveys and ID guides


Freshwater invertebrates ID guide

Natural History Museum

Our guide to help people identify some of the common groups of freshwater invertebrates that are likely to be found in the UK.

The Big Pond Dip

Freshwater Habitats Trust

A simple survey which can be done every year to monitor the health of your pond. Based on the results, your pond will receive a 'score' which can indicate its health.

The website makes some recommendations based on your score which can help to improve your pond for wildlife.

When: the best time to do this survey is between May and August.

Equipment: You will need a white tray, a sieve, the survey forms provided and a pen.

Beginner’s guide to recording dragonflies

British Dragonfly Society

A beginner's guide to recording dragonflies, including where to look and a survey form. There are several ways you can submit your records.

When: year-round, but mostly from May to September.

Equipment: binoculars, ID guides and a camera are useful.