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Identification and Reference Books

This is a list of books which it may be useful to acquire for helping identify species. I would personally advise you never to buy a photographic identification guide, as in my opinion there really are no good ones for any group of species with the possible exception of Roger Phillips Fungi and Grasses books (but they are a bit big to take in to the field). 


There are more field guides on birds than you can shake a stick at!

There is only one you need – The Collins Bird Guide which is available in both hard and soft back versions. The Collins Bird Guide – Mullarney/Svensson/Zetterstrom/Grant - £24.99 hbk. £16.99 sbk


Collins Field Guide – Butterflies of Britain & Europe – Tolman/Lewington - £19.95

Pocket Guide to the Butterflies of Great Britain & Ireland – Richard Lewington – British Wildlife Publishing £9.95


The book to get is the Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain & Ireland – Waring, Townsend, Lewington – British Wildlife Publishing - £29.95

A good alternative is Colour Identification Guide to the Moths of the British Isles – Bernard Skinner – Viking - £45


The Colour Identification Guide to Caterpillars of the British Isles – Jim Porter – Viking - £40

Dragonflies and Damselflies

Field Guide to the Dragonflies & Damselflies of Great Britain & Ireland – Brooks/Lewington – British Wildlife Publishing - £18.95


There is only one book to get and it has recently been completely revised and updated, an excellent publication. British Hoverflies an Illustrated Identification Guide – Stubbs/Falck - £32.00

Grasshopers and Crickets

Grasshoppers & Allied Insects of Great Britain & Ireland – Marshall/Haes -  £18.95 softback. A cassette of “song” is also available for £6.


The classic set of books by Roberts is expensive and difficult to locate so an alternative is the Collins guide. Collins Field Guide: Spiders of Britain and Northern Europe – Roberts - £19.99


Lots of available books but my favourite is The Wildflower Key by Francis Rose. This has just (April 2006) been revised and updated by Clare O’Reilly and is even better than the original. It is published by Warne and retails for £19.99 although I got mine online from Amazon for just over £13.

The Field Studies Council produce a number of waterproof field cards which can be taken into the field and take up far less room than a similar number of field guides. These are excellent, cover a multitude of species groups, and whilst not as comprehensive as a dedicated book, will enable you to identify most species you will come across. These are available from:

FSC Publications
Preston Montford
Montford Bridge
Tel. 01743 852140.

Mail Order Suppliers of Natural History Books

Whilst any bookseller can obtain any book in print for you it can sometimes be easier to deal with a specialist. There are a couple I have dealt with and whom I would recommend.

NHBS Mailorder Bookstore
2-3 Wills Road

Subbuteo Natural History Books
The Rea
Upton Magna

Suppliers of Equipment for Survey Work

There are few suppliers of equipment and you cannot just walk in a shop and buy a butterfly net or a pooter. The following are companies that operate a good mail order service.

Anglian Lepidoptera Supplies – Moth Traps, lamps etc
PO Box 232
Northwich Delivery Office
Tel: 01263 862068

Bioquip – Moth Traps, lamps, accessories
1 Clive Cottage
London Road
Allostock, Knutsford
WA16 9LT
Tel: 0871 734 0111

Watkins & Doncaster - Just about everything you could need for any sort of survey work (but expensive)
PO Box 5
Cranbrook, Kent
TN18 5EZ
Tel. 0580 754054

Lydie Rigout - Nets, pooters, tubes, pots etc.
1 Hillside Avenue
Canterbury, Kent

B&S Entomological Services – Nets
This company have taken over the business of Marris House Nets. Good mail order service and reasonable prices.

Alana Ecology – All manner of goodies from waterproof notebooks, clipboards and paper to bat detectors and infra-red night sights.
Tel: 01588 630173

You can also download and print this Identification and Reference Books fact sheet

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