Insects and spiders

There are more species of insect in the world than any other group, representing about 80 percent of the world’s species. Their distant relatives, the spiders, are also a diverse and fascinating group. These creepy crawlies are often feared and disliked by humans, but many of them have important roles to play in medical and forensic science, or by preying on insect pests.

  • Clouded yellow butterfly
    Bug forum

    Ask questions and share identification tips about all types of British bugs, from bees to beetles and wasps to woodlice.  Museum insect-experts are on hand to answer your questions.

  • Common darter dragonfly, Sympetrum striolatum
    Common insects and spiders

    Plenty of bugs can be found without leaving the home or garden. Find out about some of the most common ones.

  • Steatoda nobilis
    Don't panic: it's only a false widow spider

    Find out all you need to know to stop worrying about the false widow spider in the UK.

  • Stag beetle, Lucanus cervus
    Stag beetle (video)

    Stag beetles are a protected species in the UK and many European countries because their numbers have declined so dramatically. Discover more about these magnificent beetles.

  • Insects living high in the trees fall into these collecting funnels after spraying with insecticide.
    Collecting and conserving

    Find out everything you need to know to become an amateur bug collector, including what equipment to buy and which colours attract flies.

  • The Goliath bird-eating spider rarely eats birds but certainly is goliath in size.
    World’s heaviest spider title challenged at Museum

    When the Hercules baboon spider took on the Goliath bird-eating spider for a heavy-weight title challenge, which emerged the champion? Watch the video to find out.

  • Museum scientist Shelley Cook using a backpack aspirator, a suction device for collecting mosquitoes
    Insects in science

    Insects have many uses. Find out how they can serve as a high protein snack and also help police in murder enquiries.

  • A common carder bee, Bombus pascorum
    Insect and spider identification guides and keys

    Browse species catalogues and follow step-by-step keys to help you identify some of the many types of wildlife in the UK and also some more exotic species.