This course is designed for anyone interested in the amazing diversity of invertebrate life found in terrestrial habitats. It is suitable for both countryside professionals and amateur naturalists.

Field excursions will introduce a variety of collecting and surveying techniques appropriate to a range of habitats. These will be complemented by workshop sessions back at the Centre, helping you to identify specimens to the correct taxonomic group and, where appropriate, to species level. Illustrated talks will provide an insight into the diversity, ecology and conservation of invertebrates.


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]

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

If you are aged 18-25, you are eligible for a £50 discount thanks to the Generation Green project, click here to find out more.

Tutor: Peter Boardman

Pete Boardman has been involved in entomology professionally for a couple of decades and is a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society. He co-runs the UK Cranefly Recording Scheme, the oldest UK fly recording scheme. He currently works for Natural England but previously ran biological recording and entomological projects for the Field Studies Council. He has taught entomology and led workshops for a range of organisations over the last twenty years. He once saw a slug eating a chip.

Oedemera nobilis on a buttercup

Please note, the fee is for tuition, packed lunch and refreshments only.

If you would like to book accommodation and an evening meal at FSC Preston Montford, please call 01743 852040.

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.

On Friday evening we begin with an illustrated lecture exploring the enormous diversity of invertebrate species, and discuss the Assignment (MMU students only).

On Saturday morning we will discuss the different types of invertebrate survey and the basic information to be collected in all surveys before venturing into the Field Centre’s ground to look at some methods of collecting invertebrates. After lunch we will look at some of the invertebrates you have collected and learn how to go about identifying them. In the evening there will be a lecture describing the different techniques that can be used to find and sample invertebrates.

On Sunday a field visit to a local site will allow you to practice collecting techniques suited to each type of habitat and give you an appreciation of the microsites that invertebrates inhabit. This visit will be followed by a laboratory workshop enabling you to practice the preparation of voucher specimens and the identification of your samples. This will require the killing of specimens. In the evening you will be given an overview of methods for interpreting the lists of species collected during invertebrate surveys.

Monday provides an opportunity for further fieldwork or to spend more time in the laboratory identifying the invertebrates you have already captured. There will also be time to test your skills by attempting to identify some pre-prepared specimens from the Preston Montford insect collection.

Accrediting Agency

Manchester Metropolitan University

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • Lunch

Bursaries and Subsidies

If you are aged 18-25, you are eligible for a £50 discount thanks to the Generation Green project, click here to find out more.

Before You Attend

What to Bring

  • A hand lens is essential, ideally at x10 magnification.
  • Warm waterproof clothing and footwear.
  • A field notebook and pencil.
  • Any personal collecting equipment you may have.
  • A sandwich box, flask and/or water bottle and a bag to carry your kit.
  • If you have a smart phone please download the iRecord app.

Recommended Reading
There are many books dealing with specific invertebrate groups. The books listed below are broader in scope and hence most relevant to the beginner. The references given in the AIDGAP key by Steve Tilling are a good introduction to the specialist literature for specific groups.

  • Barnard, P Royal Entomological Society Book of British Insects; RES
  • Chinery, M Collins Pocket Guide to the Insects of Britain and Western Europe, Harper Collins
  • Chinery, M Collins Complete British Insects, Harper Collins
  • Drake, M. et al Surveying terrestrial and freshwater invertebrates for Conservation evaluation, Natural England NERR005 (available as a free download from Natural England).
  • Tilling, S M A key to the major groups of British Terrestrial Invertebrates, Field Studies Council
  • Wheater, C P & Read, H J Richmond Publishing Co Animals under logs and stones: Naturalists’ Handbooks 22