Insects + Spiders
Provides a dichotomous key to aid in the identification of the insect orders. Where the information is available further identification using Lucid keys is provided down to family, genus and species levels.
A Brisbane family regularly explores nature and documents what they find. This site is the result of their findings.
A glove box guide to common pollinators in our region (the Southern Slopes of New South Wales and North East Victoria). This information will be applicable in many other parts of Australia too.
How do you spot the difference between bees and wasps (Hymenoptera) or flies (Diptera) when you only see them flit between flowers? Many identification resources focus on characteristics that you can only see if you have the insect under a microscope, which makes it hard for identifying them in action.
This page shares some very basic things you can look for to help you to categorise and report insects
A citizen science project based on pollinator conservation. There resources page has a lot of useful information about pollinator identification.
A glove box guide to common pollinators in our region (the Southern Slopes of New South Wales and North East Victoria).
Beetles are the most prolific biological taxon accounting for 40% of all insects and 25% of all species of animals on earth. In Australia they are assorted into 117 families. This site has over 40 families illustrated so far. They are numbered and highlighted in the list on the main page for ease of navigation. Each family in the list below is linked to AFD. Each family in the sidebar is linked to an illustration
Discover the wonderful diversity of Australia’s most famous beetles with Australian Museum’s mobile app – Xmas Beetle ID Guide, developed by AM entomologists Dr Chris Reid and Mike Burleigh.
The Xmas Beetle ID Guide is a great way to learn more about these festive Aussie icons, heralding the coming of summer and Christmas. With the app, you can:
- Browse the comprehensive catalogue of Christmas Beetles, including photos and maps,
- Collect the beetles you find and identify by adding them to your digital collection, and
- Learn more about beetle anatomy and taxonomy with our illustrated glossaries.
Bowerbird project all about Australian Paropsine beetles. Can often get prompt expert identifications.
Research into the Australian Longhorns, the Cerambycidae, is being partly funded by ABRS in a collaborative venture with CSIRO. The study of the Lamiinae, one of the three major subfamilies, has resulted in a book and companion website. As well a providing information the website also provides a lucid identification key that takes the Lamiinae subfamily to genus level. There are current plans to produce a book on the Cerambycinae and a book on the Prioninae and expand the website to reflect this.
Research into the Australian Ladybirds, the Coccinellidae, partly funded by ABRS in a collaborative venture with CSIRO resulted in a book and companion website. As well a providing information the website also provides a lucid identification key that takes the Ladybird family to genus level.
A digital field guide to help with spider identification.
Have you found a spider but don’t know what it is or whether or not it is dangerous to humans and domesticated animals? If so, this website may help you to identify it on the basis of what it looks like, how big it is, and where you found it. Current knowledge about the toxicity of each spider and some information relating to its natural history are also included wherever possible.
A bit clunky, but has a useful pictorial overview of some of the garden spiders. Useful to narrowing it down to family.
This website has been made to fill a need for information on spiders found in TASMANIA. It is intended for the amateur enthusiast and members of the general public trying to find a name for a spider they have found. It is not intended to be a comprehensive scientific document as much of the information on spiders is hard to source and is of a dynamic nature, changing often as new scientific research is carried out.
The Australasian Arachnological Society
The Australasian Hub of the World Wide Web of Arachnology covering Australia, New Zealand, Oceania and South-east Asia.
Spidentify – Australian Spider Identification
Minibeast Wildlife’s innovative new Spidentify app for Australian spiders puts the key to this complex and fascinating world of spiders in the palm of your hand. We guide you step-by-step through identifying each spider you find, using what you see to build a personalised list of the most likely suspects. Each species has detailed information on its appearance, behaviour and danger to people,
For more advanced users, the app also functions as an digital field guide. Browse through over 250 species, sorting by location, family and habitat. Quickly access information out in the field, and leave the heavy reference books behind.
A hub for information about peacock spiders, mostly featuring the work of Jurgen Otto. Also includes info by others who contribute to the knowledge of peacock spiders. A place where you can see what the various species look like, how they behave, where they live and what else might be interesting about them.
Australian & NZ Arachnid Photography (Facebook Group)
his group is aimed at those who have an interest and fascination in observing and photographing Australian spiders.
Butterflies And Moths
Australian Butterfly Conservation
With over 420 species of butterfly, and many of the commonly encountered species being difficult to tell one from another, getting to know Australia’s butterflies can be a challenge.
This nationwide and public accessible site will help raise further awareness of Australia’s butterflies and be a place to learn more about them.
Australian Caterpillars and their Butterflies and Moths:
Links to descriptions of biology, behaviour, distribution, life histories, and images of 3,800 named and described Australian Lepidoptera species.
Australian Moths Online provides images of Australian moths that have been reliably identified by CSIRO. Its purpose is to:
- create interest in Australian moths and encourage amateur Lepidopterists to contribute to research
- assist professional researchers to identify moths
- give all people the chance to see some of Australia’s rarely observed biodiversity treasures.
Xyloryctine Moths of Australia
Interactive Australian Dragonfly Identification Key
An interactive identification key guide to the dragonflies and damselflies (odonata) of Australia. This key allows you to narrow down the list of possible species.
Identifly: Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Australian Top End
Identifly is a guidebook app for identifying dragonflies and damselflies of the Australian Top End.
The Identifly app allows you to identify species of dragonflies and damselflies by colour. The app includes photos and descriptions of distinguishing features to help you tell species apart.
Available for free download from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
Identification Guide to the Australian Odonata
Identification Guide to the Australian Odonata (dragonflies) includes 325 described species in 110 recognised genera. This publication provides keys to the identification of the adults of all Australian species and to the larvae as far as known and diagnosable. In order to facilitate identifications, and to increase confidence, particularly in the identification of some larvae, detailed distribution maps of all species are included. Finally, profiles are given for species of serious conservation concern.
This is a free PDF. Clicking the link will start the file download.
Aussie Bee website promotes the preservation and enjoyment of Australian native bees. It is run by Anne and Les Dollin of the Australian Native Bee Research Centre to showcase Australia’s 1,600 spectacular species of native bees.
Explore the fascinating stingless bees — Australia’s tiny native honeybees; discover our dazzling array of solitary bees — blue banded bees, teddy bear bees, leafcutters and many more; and browse their extensive range of articles, photos and videos on Australia’s native bees.
Australian Bee project on BowerBird
There are approximately 2000 species of native bees in Australia. The species themselves, their distributions and floral associations are all of interest. There is still much to learn about the Australian bee fauna.
This Bowerbird project it a citizen science project where you can add your bee sightings. They will be identified where possible.
The Australian Bee Genera: An Annotated, User-Friendly Key
Australia has over 1600 native bee species, from five families and 63 genera. Family- and genus-level keys exist for Australian bees, but these traditional keys tend to be difficult and time consuming for non-specialists to learn without guidance.
Tobias Smith provides provide a new, free, user-friendly key to all of the Australian bee families and genera, in which all couplets are supported by photos and diagrams to support the descriptions. The Australian bee genera: An annotated, user friendly key is designed to be as practical and easy as possible, while maintaining the integrity of this complex task.
An online resource dedicated to cuckoo wasps
European wasp identification guide
Learn the differences between the European wasp, Vespula germanica, and other species including the common and widespread yellow paper wasp, Polistes dominulus.
This is an interactive tool for the identification of the flies most frequently encountered breeding in carrion in Australia. This tool enables the rapid identification of over 70 species, with accompanying information on their taxonomy, biology and distribution. Also included is a range of photographs of all species and their morphological features.
The Anatomical Atlas of Flies is an interactive and comparative morphology for the insect order Diptera. It compares the morphology of the four major groups: the Calyptrate, the Acalyptrate, the Lower Brachycera and the Lower Diptera.
Anatomical Atlas of Drosophila melanogaster
This interactive morphology clarifies structures found in this particular group of flies. It is designed to provide a bridge between communities who study the taxonomy and systematics of the group, and those who study the genetics and development of this model organism and its close relatives.
Austherevid, a website devoted to the study of Australasian Therevidae (Diptera). Austherevid contains all types of information related to the study of Australasian Stiletto-flies, including an interactive key to genera.
Key to Fruit Flies of New South Wales
This is a scientific key to assist trained entomologists to identify fruitflies of economic importance to Australian agriculture.
Fruit Fly Identification Australia
Fruit Fly Identification Australia is a hub of information to assist in the accurate identification of fruit fly species that occur within Australia and species that are not present within Australia but pose the most significant threat to horticultural industries.
This site has been developed for diagnosticians and includes species pages with high resolution images, information on molecular diagnostic tools, an online Lucid key to 65 species of Dacine flies, a rotatable 3D fruit fly to assist in identifying key morphology features and a downloadable The Australian Handbook for the Identification of Fruit Flies.
Illustrated key to the aphids (Hemiptera: Aphididae) found on lettuce in Australia
This key has been written to help identify specimens of Nasonovia ribisnigri (Mosley), the currant lettuce aphid, and monitor its spread in Australia. The opportunity has been taken to provide a means by which other species of aphids found on lettuce in Australia can be differentiated.
The key is written for people with no prior knowledge of Lace Bugs, to help with understanding the terminology an extensive glossary is supplied.
For accurate identification of species, the key requires a high magnification hand lens or a low magnification microscope.
Identification keys and checklists for the leafhoppers, planthoppers and their relatives occurring in Australia and neighbouring areas (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha)
Antwiki provides a wealth of information on the world’s ants. Contributions come from ant experts together with discussions provided by experts and amatuers. In addition, data is collated from numerous global databases and integrated with individual taxon pages.
AntWeb is the world’s largest online database of images, specimen records, and natural history information on ants. It is community driven and open to contribution from anyone with specimen records, natural history comments, or images.
Australasian Region Species List
An AntWiki report
Guide to Camponotus Ants of Australia (Free Download)
The purpose of this guide is to enable recognition of the ant genus Camponotus, and identification of 143 species within this genus which have so far been described from Australia.
The museum also has a downloadable guide to the Undescribed Camponotus Ants in Australia.
A web guide to The cicadas of Australia
Aussie Cicadas (Flickr Images)
A comparison of the main species that have appeared in huge numbers along the coast of eastern New South Wales and nearby ranges during 2014.
The cicadas of central eastern Australia
This website has been designed as an interactive guide to the species that are known to occur in central eastern Australia.
An iNaturalist project collecting data about cicadas in NSW and the ACT.
Leafhoppers and Planthoppers
Key to the Leafhoppers and Treehoppers of Australia and neighbouring areas
This key will enable any leafhopper found in Australia and neighbouring regions to be identified to Subfamily or Tribe. Checklists of species in each country are provided for each group and identification keys are provided to enable identification to genus for those groups that are sufficiently well known for this to be possible.
Identification keys and checklists for the leafhoppers, planthoppers and their relatives occurring in Australia and neighbouring areas (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha)
Centipedes and Millipedes
A checklist of the described species of millipedes native to Australia. It is a resource for taxonomists, not an identification guide
External Anatomy of Polydesmida
Polydesmida is the biggest of the 16 orders within the arthropod class Diplopoda (millipedes). This site walks you through the external anatomy of this millipedes in this order. Really useful for beginners.
A Bowerbird group for millipedes. You can use this group to seek identifications of millipedes youve photographed.
Research into the Centipedes of Australia was partly funded by ABRS in a in a collaborative venture with CSIRO. It resulted in a centipede checklist and a website providing an interactive dichotomous key to aid with centipede identification.
There are about 300 species of centipedes, millipedes, Pauropoda, Symphyla and velvet worms in Tasmania. This website will help you identify these Tasmanian ‘multipedes’ (native and introduced) and will direct you to some relevant books, reports and papers. Also provided are up-to-date distribution maps for most Tasmanian species of centipede, millipede and velvet worm.
This website stopped being updated in 2013 but is still useful.
An online catalogue of all described species of Australian Thrips. View details and photos on the species in genera of thrips known in Australia in the sub-order Terebrantia, representing five families and four subfamilies. The second sub-order, the Tubulifera, includes a single family, the Phlaeothripidae, with more than 500 genera recorded from Australia, and many species not yet described.
Thysanoptera (Thrips) of the World – a checklist
This world list includes about 7700 species-group and over 1200 genus-group names, together with their authors and dates of publication
The Waterbug app helps you identify waterbugs from South-eastern Australia. Use the key to answer questions that help you identify your waterbug, or whizz through speedbug and see if you recognize it.
The app also has a list function that acts as an index if you already know some waterbugs and just want more info on them, and a gallery if you are simply interested in browsing pictures that demonstrate the diversity of waterbugs.
Key to Australian Freshwater and Terrestrial Invertebrates
This key is designed to help you to identify any invertebrate you find in a freshwater or terrestrial environment in Australia.
Identification and Ecology of Australian Freshwater Invertebrates
This interactive guide to the Identification and Ecology of Australian Freshwater Invertebrates is designed to provide ecological and taxonomic information to enable community groups, students and scientists to readily identify inland aquatic invertebrates. The content focuses on invertebrates from fresh and inland saline surface waters of mainland Australia and Tasmania, in particular taxa utilised in routine biomonitoring. General information is given for each of the major aquatic invertebrate groups.
The Waterbug Shop was established as a better way for people to access equipment and resources for the sampling and identification of waterbugs
Snails and Freshwater Molluscs
This is a Facebook group dedicated to sharing photos and information regarding Gastropods. Land and Sea, snails, slugs, shells and everything between. Dedicated primarily to Australian species.
Australian Freshwater Molluscs
Australian Freshwater Molluscs is an interactive resource aimed at facilitating the identification and information retrieval of the entire freshwater mollusc fauna.
Field guide to the non-marine molluscs of south eastern Australia
The non-marine molluscs form a significant part of the invertebrate fauna of South-eastern Australia. Several species are of economic importance, mainly pests and parasite vectors. Non-marine molluscs are also valuable as environmental indicators and are used extensively by ecologists in environmental impact studies. This field guide of non-marine molluscs is intended as a check-list and a field and laboratory identification manual to this diverse and significant group. It is intended to give a current assessment of the knowledge of this group and is the logical next step in the available literature. The book provides basic information on the study and identification of an important group of Australian animals and it is hoped that it will stimulate further research into the native fauna of this most man-modified part of Australia.
Field Guide to terrestrial and freshwater molluscs of the North West
These pages have been set up as a field identification tool for terrestrial and freshwater molluscs (mostly snails) in north west Western Australia. It includes basic information on the various terrestrial and freshwater mollusc families, and in some cases genera and species, that commonly occur in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, plus a list of key scientific literature that deals with each group.
The springtails (Collembola) are a group of hexapods that are abundant and diverse in a wide range of habitats across our continent and beyond. Upload your springtail images here and hopefully we’ll begin to assemble a nice visual overview of our fascinating springtail fauna.
Locust and grasshopper identification guide
This pictorial guide is designed to assist with the identification of Australian locusts and grasshoppers of economic importance.
This interactive key provides diagnostics for all the species of spider mites (Acari: Tetranychidae) previously recorded in Australia. A detailed fact sheet has been provided for nearly all species treated.
Insects Of Tasmania: An Online Field Guide
This website has a number of aims
- to be of use to the scientific, educational and general community
- to have a focus on Tasmanian insects, but be useful Australia wide
- to be accessible on any computer platform and also mobile device
- to be accessible at all levels, and differentiate for different ages and stages
- to be a resource that highlights the overwhelming diversity of our local insects, and their complex lifestyles
- to display quality photographs and (often dubious quality) video of mostly-live insects in, to a large extent, their natural habitat
- to increase awareness, and hopefully engender a respect for our six-legged cohabiters
This site is work in progress for interested people who want to identify Tasmanian beetles and spiders and discover more about their ecological relationships. It includes other minibeasts because beetles and spiders can’t really be separated from their ecological web.