Due to Covid-19 we have had to cancel courses from March to 1st August, we hope you will find an event later in the year that you can attend.

This course focuses on how to find and sample insects, how to prepare and curate specimens for identification purposes, and how to approach identification of your chosen species group. The main emphasis will be on how to carry out reliable and verifiable identifications through the correct presentation of specimens and the use of keys and other identification resources. Participants will be expected to select a suitable taxonomic group in which they will start to specialise by building up a reference collection of specimens.


This is one of a series of courses (Units) run jointly with Manchester Metropolitan University contributing to the MSc Biological Recording and Ecological Monitoring and the Postgraduate Certificate in Biological Recording. To gain university credits you must be registered for the programme in advance of this course. For further details please contact:

Department of Natural Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University, (Shrewsbury Office). E-mail: [email protected]  Phone: 01743 355137

The Unit will be assessed through, for example, identification tests, survey reports, field journals, production of keys, essays or other forms of assessment.

The course is also suitable for non-credit students and for those enrolling on the new certificate course with FSC. For further details on this course please contact FSC Head Office at [email protected]

Tutor: Martin Harvey

Martin Harvey tutors regularly for FSC and for Manchester Metropolitan University. He is an ecologist specialising in insect conservation and recording, carrying out surveys for a range of clients, and is a Research Fellow at the national Biological Records Centre. Martin has been County Moth Recorder for Berkshire for over 20 years.

Example Timetable

Please arrive at the Centre between 15:00pm and 17:00pm on the first day of your course in good time for a welcome introduction and evening meal usually 18.30pm, after which the course commences with a short evening session.

Introductions, Invertebrate diversity.

Introduction to collection techniques and sampling protocols, Fieldwork, details of module assessment, Voucher specimen identification, preparation and curation, Laboratory workshop I.

Invertebrate recording schemes and validation of records. Field visit. In the evening Laboratory workshop II.

Improving invertebrate recording, Laboratory workshop III.

Accrediting Agency

Manchester Metropolitan University

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Full Board Accommodation
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • In Course Transport
  • Personal and Travel Insurance

Before You Attend

What to Bring

  • A hand lens is essential, preferably x10 and/or x20.
  • Warm waterproof clothing and footwear.
  • A field notebook and pencil.
  • A sandwich box, vacuum flask and/or water bottle and a bag to carry your kit.
  • Collecting equipment (e.g. nets, tubes, forceps) and specimen preparation materials (e.g. entomological pins, glue, labelling pens) will be available to borrow but you may wish to bring your own if you already own them. A spare sandwich box or other strong box with polystyrene or a cork tile cut to fit the base would be useful if you want to take pinned specimens home (it may also be possible to obtain suitable boxes from the tutor). Do not purchase anything else especially for the course as you will receive advice during the course and you will get chance to try out different equipment yourself.
  • Identification keys and books will be available for use during the course but if you already have your own identification guides you may wish to bring them along.

Useful Resources

Guidance will be provided on the most useful books and other resources for the invertebrate group you decide to focus on. Here are some weblinks that provide information on invertebrate specimens in general: