Keys & Identification Guides

The most recent identification guides to British and Irish species (which may be purchased online) are listed below. Other identification guides are available online.  See Resources > Online Resources > woodlice & waterlice and millipedes & centipedes tabs.


An Introduction to Centipedes, Millipedes and Woodlice (on CD ROM)

by Paul Richards (2011). 

Although good taxonomic guides exist for these animals, there is a gap between beginners’ introductions to invertebrates and specialist literature for identification. BMIG wanted to bridge this gap and popularise these animals in a modern and accessible way. 
The three guides that are presented here have been written to raise the profile of Centipedes, Millipedes and Woodlice, teach a little biology and equip the reader to do the same.  They are intended as a resource to propagate study of the important, but little noticed, animals. They offer introductory keys, natural histories and a rich library of images for individual or group study.
Available directly from BMIG - Please contact Paul Harding
Single copy £7.00 (CD £5.00 plus £2.00 p&p, in UK). Bulk orders attract a 25% discount e.g. 5 copies £22.00 (CDs £18.75.00 plus £3.25 p&p). Please enquire about overseas orders.

Centipede Identification

There are two modern identification guides for our species; both by A.D. (Tony) Barber.
Key to the identification of British centipedes ~ AIDGAP key (2008)
Centipedes ~ Linnean Society Synopsis (New Series) 58 (2009)
Both are obtainable from FSC Publications.
The older standard work, from which the above derive much of their information is Centipedes of the British Isles by E.H. (Ted) Eason, published by Warne (1964) has been long out of print. Though some of the nomenclature has since changed, the original species descriptions, illustrations and details of distribution remain invaluable.The 'Synopsis' provides a more detailed account of each species and is suitable for more experienced users.
Ted Eason's (1964) Centipedes of the British Isles  is now available on CD in Adobe Acrobat pdf format, with fully searchable text and hyperlinks for ease of navigation.

Millipede Identification

The only available key to millipedes is the 1985 Synopsis of the British Fauna No. 35 by J. Gordon Blower published by The Linnean Society and Brill/Backhuys.  Sadly it is out of print, but it may be possible to obtain copies through specialist entomological book sellers or online sellers of second hand books.
A revised key is being prepared by Paul Lee, and draft versions may be made availble to active recorders. 

Woodlouse Identification

There are two main publications for the identification of woodlice of Britain and Ireland.
A key to the woodlice of Britain and Ireland ~ FSC AIDGAP key (1991)
The Field Studies Council AIDGAP key by Steve Hopkin is widely regarded as better for living woodlice or fresh material. It contains keys to the 35 species of woodlice known to be native or naturalised in the British Isles. Colour plates support detailed line drawings and confirmatory descriptions of each species include notes on distribution and natural history.
Woodlice ~ Linnean Society Synopsis (New Series) 49 (1993)
The Linnean Society Synopsis by Oliver & Meechan provides a detailed account of all 38 species which were known up to date of publication. It is suitable for more experienced users and particularly helpful for preserved specimens. Unfortunately it seems to be no longer available from the FSC website (out of print?).

Waterlouse (Water Slater) Identification

A key to the four species of water-slater in Britain and Ireland is included in:
Gledhill, A.T., Sutcliffe, D.W. & Williams, W.D. (1993). British freshwater Crustacea Malacostraca: a key with ecological notes. Freshwater Biological Association Scientific Publication No 52. Available from FBA website.