Natural History Museum's new Bugs Count app launched

28 September 2011

The Natural History Museum’s new OPAL Bugs Count app for mobile devices is launched today.

The leopard slug is one of the 6 minibeasts to spot if you want to help scientists

The leopard slug is 1 of 6 minibeasts to spot in OPAL's Bugs Count survey.

The Bugs Count app supports the OPAL (Open Air Laboratories) Bugs Count survey launched in June.

The free app lets you identify the most common groups of bugs straight from your mobile device with the help of images and guides. 

And you can help scientists monitor 6 minibeasts, from the Bugs Count survey, by uploading your photos in the Species Quest section of the app.

‘The new app’s a fun way to discover British wildlife and take part in a nationwide scientific study at the same time. I hope everyone will download it and learn to love bugs as much as we do!’ says Lucy Carter, OPAL Biodiversity Scientist.

Members of the public have already counted around 500,000 bugs in the Bugs Count survey and entered their results on the OPAL website. This new app makes it even easier to take part.

‘It’s so exciting that the British public have counted over half a million bugs for us already. It just goes to show how many fascinating invertebrates are living right alongside us. These records will really help us with our research,’ adds Carter.


An incredible 96% of all known animals are invertebrates, which are animals without backbones. They make up the majority of animal life with 40,000 species in Britain alone.

Invertebrates play a critical role in our ecosystems - pollinating plants, breaking down organic waste and maintaining the fertility of soils, as well as providing an essential source of food for birds and many more glamorous creatures.

A devil's coach horse. Help find out if is this beetle is found more often in urban or rural areas.

A devil's coach horse. Help find out if is this beetle is found more often in urban or rural areas.

You can use the Bugs Count app on the iPhone and Android devices, and get help identifying the most common groups of bugs, including slugs, beetles, spiders and bees.

The 6 minibeasts to look for are the devil’s coach horse beetle (on the right), tree bumblebee, two spot ladybird, leopard slug, green shieldbug and small tortoiseshell butterfly.

Open Air Laboratories

Open Air Laboratories (OPAL), is led by Imperial College London, and includes the Natural History Museum. It is a nationwide partnership initiative that inspires communities to discover, enjoy and protect their local environments. OPAL is in the finals of the National Lottery Awards for Best Environment Project.

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