Learn how to identify and survey for freshwater invertebrates on one of our expert-led courses.

Courses run at various locations and dates, delivered to your chosen level.

Riverflies (mayflies, stoneflies and caddisflies) are at the heart of freshwater ecosystems and are a vital part of the aquatic food chain. They spend most of their life as immature nymphs in the water, eventually emerging as beautiful winged adults. If you visit the rivers on a warm day in May, you may be lucky enough to witness the dance of the mayflies, where thousands emerge at once and display their mating dance in the skies above.

Riverflies make good biological indicators as they are present in waterways year-round, have long life cycles and cannot disperse when young. Therefore, recording several abiotic and biotic factors from a waterway (including species presence and abundance) can help to determine if there have been any changes to the water quality, flow and habitat.

Identification Courses

Our freshwater invertebrate courses are delivered by experts in the field, and they will equip you with the skills and knowledge to discover more about the various species and their ecology and biology. Our beginner courses are for anyone interested in discovering and exploring this invertebrate group. You can learn how to identify the key groups and acquire or improve identification skills. It is a useful skill for anyone interested in freshwater ecology and conservation.

Training is led by expert tutors who are passionate about the subject. Taking place at venues across the UK, our courses are designed to progress your learning at a level to suit your needs.

Each course is part of a learning framework. You can see the course level descriptions here. Natural history courses are available at all levels from beginner through to professional training.

Identification Resources

Freshwater invertebrates AIDGAP is an identification guide for ponds, lakes, streams and rivers in Britain and Ireland. Identification goes to at least family level.

Caddis larvae AIDGAP covers all caddis larvae found in Britain and Ireland.

Mayflies AIDGAP is a pictorial guide to British Ephemeroptera.

Stoneflies AIDGAP features identification keys to families, for both larvae and adults. The keys will work with living specimens in the field. A flight calendar shows when the adults of each species are active.