Welcome to BioImages, the Virtual Field-Guide to UK Biodiversity!
Content: This site offers an enormous collection of photographs of wild species and natural history objects. It covers most groups of organisms with the exception of birds and other vertebrates. (There are several reasons for this omission: I'm very much a hands-on naturalist and have always been more interested in the small and close than the large and distant. Mammal and bird photography requires specialist equipment and there are plenty of others doing it - anyway, it's my nod to specialisation!)
Geographical Scope: The criterion for inclusion of a species is that it must have been, or might be expected to be, found in Britain or Ireland.
In the early days the photographs were exclusively from lowland southern England since that is where I happen to live, but in recent years I've made an effort to photograph species from other parts of Britain, and other habitats including the sea-shore.
Purpose: The photographs are presented to illustrate biodiversity and as an aid to identification.
For identification purposes the photographs should be used in conjunction with a field-guide or more specialist publication (or web-site). Hopefully, the site will provide visual confirmation of features which are described but not illustrated elsewhere - particular effort has been made to illustrate diagnostic features.
Identification from pictures alone is dangerous, especially for the beginner, because it needs experience to know which differences fall within normal variation and which are diagnostic for identification purposes. However, by illustrating different stages and states, and especially by showing numerous views of the organisms, more information can be offered than is available in printed field-guides or most other web-sites.
Coverage: The site covers as many as or more species than most illustrated fieldguides (eg BioImages and Chinery's "Complete British Insects" both cover c. 1500 insect spp). BioImages includes the majority of species that the casual observer is likely to see in Britain and Ireland.
How to find your way around: BioImages follows the biological classification. This is a hierarchical system with species grouped in genera, genera in families, families in orders and so on up to kingdoms and superkingdoms. Biota takes you to the top of the classification tree.
Searching: BioImages is indexed by Google (you can enter English or Latin names, or life stage or part - eg "caterpillar", "pollen", "trichome"):
Browsing: If you just want to browse, Shortcuts takes you to a list of links to groups of organisms. You can then go directly to the group your are interested in. Then follow the links down to the species you want to see.
On the left of each page in the classification hierarchy is a column of links to take you back up the hierarchy. Using these and the subtaxon links in the body of the page you can navigate sideways.
This is a large site containing (Sept 11) nearly 80,000 images depicting over 5,700 species. The images include habitat shots, close-ups, macro shots and microscopy. Enjoy!
(The Classification Hierarchy)
(The Easy Way in)
Related Sites and Discussion Groups
Conditions of Use
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