identification guides

Get to know your eight-legged lodgers this autumn

They are useful pest controllers and like to share our homes, but many of us cannot identify different species of these eight-legged lodgers.

Spiders start to appear in our houses more frequently at this time of year, as some species – including the aptly-named House Spider (Tegenaria) – leave their webs in search of a mate.


ID guides to lichens and mosses published

New keys to more than 50 species of mosses and lichens most commonly found growing on fruit trees have been released today.

The fully-illustrated guides, developed by OPAL East of England in collaboration with the Field Studies Council, cover species local to eastern England, but many are also found throughout the UK.


About lichens and mosses in orchards


Orchards – groups of trees cultivated to produce food – have a long history in the British Isles, which may stretch back as far as the Neolithic period.

The recognition of traditional orchards as biodiversity hotspots led to the creation of a Habitat Action Plan for orchards in 2007, and they are of increasing interest to scientists.

Lichens on an apple tree

New micro-moth guide published

A free identification guide to some of the smaller moths found in the British Isles has been published.

From Adelidae to Ypsolophidae, nearly 50 micro-moth families are included in the guide, produced by the Garden Moth Scheme (GMS) and OPAL West Midlands.


OPAL releases new earthworm key

Help our scientists by identifying the earthworms in your garden or school playing field with our new, simple guide.

The free guide covers the seven most common species of earthworms in British lawns and recreation fields, helping you put names to the species you might find in your own back garden.


Is there an identification guide your society needs?

There are many wildlife identification guides or keys that either haven’t been written yet or would benefit from an update. OPAL is collecting opinions from natural history societies on what guides need to be produced.

It could be a guide aimed specifically at beginners or advanced users. We’ve already received a number of suggestions, including sawflies, soldier beetles and adult caddisflies.


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