Do you know a Red Admiral from a Painted Lady? Can you tell a Speckled Wood from a Small Copper?

This ID course is for absolute beginners to butterfly spotting and naming. We’ll focus on a handful of the most distinctive and commonly seen butterflies. You will learn the appearance and characteristics of these butterflies, how to spot them and tell them apart from similar kinds using photographs. The course is completely free and you get a certificate for passing.

Each year the public and volunteers across the country snap photos of butterflies they encounter and tell others what they’ve seen. Scientists and wildlife conservationists rely on data on butterfly sightings shared by the public and volunteers across the UK. We’re on a mission to introduce more people to the UK’s most recognisable butterflies

Complete our free online course, produced with butterfly experts, to learn and gain certified butterfly ID skills. By getting to know the names of butterflies you can better appreciate the wildlife in your area, contribute better data to citizen science surveys and take first steps to becoming an ID volunteer!

The course is completely free and you get a certificate for passing. After working through the self-study content and quizzes in your own time, you will then complete an automatically-graded identification photo test.

This course is aimed at adults only and course attendees must be at least 18 years old in order to attend.

What’s Included?

  • Single module online course for adults, with a weekly time commitment of 3-5 hours per module.
  • Access to study content, activities and auto-graded assignments through the FSC virtual learning platform.
  • E-certificate upon course completion.
  • Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

What topics are covered in this course?

  • Identifying Distinctive Butterflies

Topic Content and Timetable

This course is available until the 30th November 2022 and consists of the following:

  • One module with its own certificate of achievement
  • Auto-graded activities

Students are able to complete the content in their own time. The course should take a maximum of 10 hours to complete. The deadline for completing all content and activities is 30th November 2022.

LEP101: Identifying Distinctive Butterflies covers:

  • UK Butterflies
  • Whites and Yellows
  • Nymphalids & Fritillaries
  • Browns
  • Hairstreaks, Coppers & Blues
  • Recording UK Butterflies

Tutor Information


Dan Asaw

Dan is a keen educator and Coleopterist. He has experience working within education as a teaching assistant and loves the opportunity to share his experiences and knowledge with a range of audiences. Dan’s interest in invertebrates started at a young age and as a teenager he was already rearing praying mantids in his bedroom. From there, he began rearing exotic invertebrate disease vectors for scientific research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

In his spare time, he has volunteered integrating UK beetles into the Natural History Museum Collection. He is often found digging through wood piles and utilising a variety of trapping methods to find and identify beetles. He is an active member of the Herts Invertebrate project and Hertfordshire Natural History Society, and has helped generate some significant county records in this capacity.

Keiron Derek Brown

Keiron Derek Brown first became interested in invertebrates during a field-based entomology module at university and went on to volunteer on soil biodiversity research projects at the Natural History Museum (London). This included sorting samples of invertebrates to order level and sampling invertebrates across the New Forest in Hampshire and the Malaysian rainforests of Borneo.

In his spare time, he is the national recorder for earthworms (running the National Earthworm Recording Scheme on behalf of the Earthworm Society of Britain) and the Chair of the Ecology & Entomology section of the London Natural History Society. Keiron now manages the FSC BioLinks project, with the aim of inspiring amateur naturalists to take up the identification and recording of invertebrate groups that are often forgotten and rarely recorded. The courses Keiron teaches include Discovering iRecord, Identifying Terrestrial Invertebrates with Microscopes and our various earthworm courses.

Rachael Conway

A self-described latecomer to the world of biological science, Rachael is keen to encourage more people to identify and record wildlife. Rachael has worked for Butterfly Conservation for 5 years, previously as Engagement Officer supporting volunteers to get involved in recording, monitoring, and surveying. Now Supporting Science Officer, Rachael is a champion of the team approach to verification making use of iRecord to develop skills, promote succession, and to support County Recorders with an ever-increasing workload.

Rachael is a member of the Northern Ireland Butterfly Verification Committee and facilitates their team, including the training of verification assistants to use iRecord to verify the easier species. Rachael is a volunteer for several community projects which manage land for wildlife and she personally uses iRecord to collate her records of the animal and plant species she discovers.

Course Fees

This introductory course has been made available to all at no cost through Butterfly Conservation.

Bursaries and Subsidies

This course was developed by the Field Studies Council and Butterfly Conservation as part of the Supporting Science project.

Butterfly Conservation is a UK charity dedicated to saving butterflies and moths. Butterflies and moths matter because they are key indicators of the health of our environment. They connect us to nature and contribute to our well-being. Butterfly Conservation improves landscapes for butterflies and moths, creating a better environment for us all. Our research provides advice on how to conserve and restore habitats. We run projects to protect more than 100 threatened species and we are involved in conserving hundreds of sites and reserves.

Supporting Science is a new project that will help support both new and established recorders of moths and butterflies. It will provide training and new web-based tools to progress both the collection and verification of data. The project will also help engage a much wider and diverse range of people in collecting and submitting information about their local butterfly and moth populations. Supporting Science has been made possible thanks to DCMS and National Lottery funding, distributed by The Heritage Fund as part of their Digital Skills for Heritage initiative. We are also grateful to The Henry C. Hoare Charitable Trust, Sophia Webster Ltd. and The Lochlands Trust for their generous support.

Before You Attend

How to login

Already attended an online course with ourselves?

Login into your Moodle account with your existing credentials and it will appear on your course dashboard automatically!

New to Field Studies Council online courses

1. After confirming your purchase in your basket, the course will show on your course bookings page.
2. Click on the course title 'Biolinks: Beginner's Guide to Terrestrial Invertebrates 2022'.
3. You will then be taken the the Field Studies Council Moodle login page.
Please note: This is different from the website used to make your booking and therefore uses a different username and password.

To generate your password

1. Go to the Moodle Login Page
2. Click on the 'forgotten username and password?'

3. Type the email registered with (the one used by your Field Studies Council booking account) into the 'Search by email address' box and click search.

4. An email will appear in your inbox with a password reset link allowing you to login within 60 minuites.

Still having issues?

Contact us at [email protected]

Opportunities to attend this course

  • Fri 25, March 2022 09:00 - Wed 30, November 2022 23:59

    FSC Virtual
    Dan Asaw, Keiron Brown, Rachael Conway