United Kingdom

Species Lists

Disclaimer: This map contains public domain material originally from the United States Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook.

Species List - United Kingdom

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Worms        Molluscs        Crustaceans        Centipedes        Arachnids        Insects

Bony Fish        Amphibians        Reptiles        Mammals        Birds

 

The UK is one of the pioneers of both natural history research and wildlife conservation, a testament to a long-standing British enthusiasm for the natural world; indeed, Britain's own fauna is the best-documented in the world. For an island low in species diversity, few endemic animal species, with a long history of human development, and where a number of the most commonly-seen animals are foreign introductions, Britain is of more importance to European wildlife than it might at first appear. The island is home to internationally important populations of merlins (a small falcon), Europe's largest continuous otter population, and several globally significant seabird colonies. Following the spectacularly successful reintroduction of the red kite (Milvus milvus) in the late 20th Century, the UK now has the only population of these impressive birds in Europe whose numbers are on the rise. At the same time, continued development and agricultural expansion, the introduction of exotic wildlife and the pressures of climate change on species already at the northern extent of their ranges contribute to an overall decline in the health of British wildlife.

 

 

ANNELID WORMS

 

Earthworms are abundant in Britain's damp climate, and the UK has 28 native species.

 

Common Earthworm

Lumbricus terrestris

 

 

 

MOLLUSCS

 

Britain's 810 known mollusc species include representatives of most of this giant phylum's major groups; British waters boast at least ten species of sea slug and a greater number of cephalopods (octopi and squid), animals often popular with underwater photographers. Slugs and snails are more abundant than many gardeners would like, and a number of species are both common and widespread, perhaps the most familiar being the garden snail (Helix aspersa), which has been introduced widely around the world.

 

 

 

 

Great Pond Snail

Lymnaea stagnalis

White-lipped Banded Snail

Cepaea hortensis

Brown-lipped Snail

Cepaea nemoralis

Garden Snail

Helix aspersa

Common Garden Slug

Arion hortensis

 

 

 

CRUSTACEANS

 

A consequence of a moist climate in which wood decays readily, the UK has several very common species of woodlouse. It also boasts an internationally significant population of white-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes), a population under threat largely from a disease carried by introduced American signal crayfish. Marine crustaceans benefit from Britain's extensive shoreline, where multiple species of crabs can commonly be seen along the shore, in rockpools, and on dives.

 

Velvet Swimming Crab

Neocora puber

Common Woodlouse

Oniscus asellus

Common Striped Woodlouse

Philoscia muscorum

Pill Woodlouse

Armadillidium vulgare

 

 

 

CENTIPEDES

 

Forty-four species of centipede occur in Britain, the most common being the brown centipede (Lithobius forficatus).

 

Brown Centipede

Lithobius forficatus


 

 

ARACHNIDS

 

Spiders are diverse and abundant in Britain, with over 600 British species. Around a hundred may be found in a typical garden, making them a promising subject aspiring naturalists can study without leaving their back yard! The most familiar are the large garden or cross spider (Araneus diadematus) (left) and house spider (Tegenaria domestica). A single population of scorpions occurs in London but is not native, having been introduced in the 19th Century.

 

 

Harvestman

Leiobunum rotundum

Garden/Cross Spider

Araneus diadematus

Cucumber Spider

Aranienella cucurbitina

Long-jawed Spider Tetragnatha extensa

Nursery Web Spider

Pisaura mirabilis

Herb Hammock Spider Neriene clathrata

Motherphage Spider

Coleotes terrestris

House Spider

Tegenaria domestica

 

 

 

INSECTS

 

When asked what his studies of natural history had revealed to him about God's design, the British ecologist JBS Haldane famously replied that he'd learned God must have "an inordinate fondness for beetles". Learning that over 1,000 species of beetle could be found within 10 miles of Birmingham motivated Alfred Russell Wallace, the co-discoverer of evolutionary theory, to take up an interest in natural history professionally. While the thousands of beetles are often well-hidden, Britain has over 20 species of butterfly, including an endemic subspecies of the common European swallowtail, and around 50 dragonflies and damselflies. Sadly, in a common pattern with many of Britain's animal groups, introduced species including the Asian harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) threaten to outcompete native species (four years after its introduction in 2004, the harlequin was the country's most common ladybird), while over half of the country's butterflies are in decline, a trend that is at least partly attributable to climate change.

 

Migrant Hawker

Aeshna mixta

Southern Hawker

Aeshna cyanea

Emperor Dragonfly

Anax imperator

Downy Emerald Cordulia aenea
Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata

Broad-bodied Chaser

Libellula depressa

Ruddy Darter

Sympetrum sanguineum

Common Darter

Sympetrum striolatum

Banded Demoiselle

Calopteryx splendens

Azure Damselfly

Coenagrion puella

Blue-tailed Damselfly

Ischnura elegans

Small Red-eyed Damselfly Erythromma viridulum

Large Red Damselfly

Pyrrhosoma nymphula

Meadow Grasshopper

Chorthippus parallelus

Oak Bush-Cricket Meconema thalassinum

Speckled Bush-Cricket

Leptophyes punctatissima

Common Pond Skater

Gerris lacustris

Common Backswimmer

Notonecta glauca

Green Shield Bug

Palomena prasina

Forest Bug Pentatoma rufipes

Common Froghopper

Philaenus spumarius

Common European Earwig

Forficura auricularia

Common Scorpion-fly

Panorpa communis

Devilís Coach-horse

Staphylinus olens

Violet Ground Beetle

Carabus violaceus

Ground Beetle Loricera pilicornis
Ground Beetle Nebria brevicollis

Ground Beetle

Pterostichus madidus

Ground Beetle

Pterostichus niger

Great Diving Beetle

Ditiscus marginalis

Cereal Leaf Beetle Oulema melanopus

Scarlet Lily Beetle

Lilioceris lilii

Bloody-nosed Beetle Timarcha tenebricosa
Green Dock Leaf Beetle Gastrophysa viridula

Seven-spot Ladybird

Coccinella septempunctata

Two-spot Ladybird

Adalia bipunctata

Ten-spot Ladybird Adalia decempunctata
Eyed Ladybird Anatis ocellata
Fourteen-spot Ladybird Propylea 14-punctata
Orange Ladybird Halyzia 16-punctata

Harlequin Ladybird

Harmonia axyridis

Soldier Beetle Cantharis decipiens
Soldier Beetle Cantharis livida
Soldier Beetle Cantharis nigricans
Soldier Beetle Cantharis pellucida

Soldier Beetle

Cantharis rustica

Soldier Beetle

Rhagonycha fulva

Common Malachite Beetle

Malachius bipustulatus

Thick-legged Flower Beetle

Oedemera nobilis

Click Beetle

Athous haemoroidalis

Black-headed Cardinal Beetle

Pyrochroa coccinea

Cardinal Beetle

Pyrochroa serraticornis

Weevil

Phyllobius pomaceus

Cockchafer

Meiolontha meiolontha

Spotted Longhorn Beetle

Rutpela maculata

House Fly

Musca domestica

Cranefly

Tipula padulosa

Dronefly

Eristala tenax

Hoverfly Ferdinandea cuprea

Hoverfly

Helophilus pendulus

Hoverfly

Myathropa florea

Common Greenbottle Lucilia caesar

Longhorn Moth

Nemophora degeerella

Nettle-tap

Anthrophila fabriciana

Treble Brown-spot Idaea trigeminata
Purple Bar Cosmorhoe ocellata
Waved Umbar Menophra abruptaria
Small Magpie Eurrhypara hortulata

Six-spot Burnet

Zygaena filipendulae

Marbled Brown Drymonia dodonaea
Lobster Moth Stauropus fagi

Pale Tussock

Calliteara pudibunda

Cinnabar Moth

Tyria jacobaeae

Large Yellow Underwing

Noctua orbona

Square-spot Rustic Xestia xanthographa

Magpie Moth

Abraxas grossulariata

Common Emerald Hemithea aestivaria

Brimstone Moth

Opisthograptis luteolata

Small Skipper

Thymelicus sylvestris

Silver-spotted Skipper Hesperia comma

Large Skipper

Ochlodes venata

Orange-tip

Anthocharis cardamines

Black-veined White

Aporia crataegi

Brimstone Butterfly

Gonepteryx ramni

Large White

Pieris brassicae

Small White

Pieris rapae

Green-veined White

Pieris napi

Peacock Butterfly

Inachis io

Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae

Comma

Polygonia c-album

Red Admiral

Vanessa atalanta

Painted Lady Vanessa (Cynthia) cordui
Marbled White Melanargia galathea

Gatekeeper

Pyronia tithonus

Meadow Brown

Maniola jurtina

Speckled Wood

Pararge aegeria

Ringlet

Aphantopus hyperantus

Brown Argus Plebeius agestris
Common Blue Polyommatus icarus

Holly Blue

Celastrina argiolus

Green Hairstreak Callophrys rubi
Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas

Honey Bee

Apis mellifera

White-tailed Bumblebee

Bombus lucorum

Common Carder Bumblebee

Bombus pascuorum

Common Wasp

Vespula vulgaris

Hornet

Vespa crabro

Sawfly

Rhogogaster viridis

Small Black Ant

Lasius niger

 

 

 

BONY FISH

 

The majority of British fish species are, unsurprisingly, marine; although many populations are threatened with overfishing, more colourful species that aren't targeted by fishing operations, including species of wrasse, blenny and goby, occur in waters suitable for diving. The UK's freshwater fish fauna is poor, but angling one of the country's more popular pastimes.

 

Common Eel

Anguilla anguilla

Pike

Esox lucius

Perch

Perca fluviatilis

 

AMPHIBIANS

 

Britain has seven native amphibian species. One of these, the pool frog (Pelophylax lessonae) became extinct in the wild in the late 1990s, but a population has recently been re-established and awarded native status (ironically, before its extinction, this species was regarded as a foreign introduction). The UK boasts one of Europe's largest populations of the threatened great crested newt, although this and other native species are in decline, due mostly to the loss of temporary pools that provide important breeding habitats. Frogs and toads are among the most widespread and abundant vertebrates in Britain, but numerous frogs die annually to infectious disease and the recent introduction to Britain of the lethal chytrid fungus is a cause for serious concern. In some areas, introduced American bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbianus) prey on native amphibians, and may also act as carriers for the fungus.

 

Palmate Newt

Lissotriton helveticus

Smooth Newt

Lissotriton vulgaris

Great Crested Newt

Triturus cristatus

Common Toad

Bufo bufo

Common Frog

Rana temporaria

 

 

REPTILES

 

Surprisingly for a country with so few species, it is not entirely clear how many reptiles are native to the UK; the number ranges between 8 and 14. Six species (three lizards and three snakes) are certainly native to the British mainland; some populations of the wall lizard (Podarcis muralis) may be; this and the green lizard are native to the Channel Islands. British waters are naturally part of the migration route of the leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), the world's largest. Four other sea turtle species may occur in British waters, and in recent years loggerheads (Caretta caretta) have been washed ashore with increasing frequency. The remaining species is the European pond terrapin, a long-extinct species in Britain that appears to have been accidentally reintroduced, but these populations may not survive. Although reptiles are widespread in Britain, they are rarely encountered, and populations are thought to be declining for all species.

 

Viviparous Lizard

Zootoca vivipara

Slow Worm

Anguis fragilis

Grass Snake

Natrix natrix

 

 

 

MAMMALS

 

Around 50% of Britain's 40 or so mammal species are foreign introductions, including several of the most commonly seen: the grey squirrel, rabbit, and muntjac deer. The native red squirrel and British subspecies of the water vole are both the target of intense conservation efforts, as they have succumbed to threats including competition and predation from non-native species. At the same time, there are a number of success stories among Britain's mammals; badgers (left) and foxes have adapted well to urban environments, while reversal of a century of pollution has lead to an increase in otter numbers throughout the country, with the knock-on effect that otters may control numbers of introduced American mink. Britain is also moving to follow other European nations in reintroducing the beaver, one of a number of mammal species hunted to extinction in historic times.

 

European Badger

Meles meles

Stoat

Mustela erminea

Red Fox

Vulpes vulpes

Rabbit

Oryctolagus curinculus

Harvest Mouse

Micromys minutus

Brown Rat

Rattus norvegicus

Grey Squirrel

Scuirius carolinensis

Hedgehog

Erinaceus europaeus

Reeves' Muntjac

Muntiacus reevesi

Roe Deer

Capreolus capreolus

 

 

 

BIRDS

 

The islands off Britain's north coast hold internationally important populations of seabirds; 66% of the world's gannets breed in the British Isles. Many waders, ducks and other birds migrate from southern Europe and Africa to breed in British coastal wetlands; storks are still occasional visitors to the Norfolk Broads, though are not native. Britain has a highly visible and moderately diverse bird fauna, and this has no doubt inspired the particular fondness the country's residents have for this aspect of their fauna; the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is Britain's largest registered charity. This organisation has spearheaded successful habitat restoration, protection and reintroduction schemes for a range of British birds, including bitterns, red kites and sea eagles. The establishment of numerous private reserves by the RSPB and other organisations, with viewing points and hides for birdwatching, has made Britain a particularly accessible country for ornithologists.

 

Little Grebe

Tachybaptus ruficollis

Great Crested Grebe

Podiceps cristatus

Gannet

Morus bassanus

Cormorant

Phalacrocorax carbo

Grey Heron

Ardea cinerea

Little Egret

Egretta garzetta

Bittern

Botaurus stellaris

Mute Swan

Cygnus olor

Canada Goose

Branta canadensis

Shelduck

Tadorna tadorna

Widgeon

Anas penelope

Teal

Anas crecca

Mallard

Anas platyrhynchos

Gadwall

Anas strepera

Shoveler Duck

Anas clypeata

Goosander

Mergus merganser

Common Pochard

Aythya ferina

Tufted Duck

Aythya fuligula

Long-tailed Duck

Clangula hyemalis

Goldeneye

Bucephala cangula

Smew

Mergellus albellus

Ruddy Duck

Oxyura jamaicensis

Red Kite

Milvus milvus

Hen Harrier

Circus cyaneus

Marsh Harrier

Circus aeruginosus

Common Buzzard

Buteo buteo

Common Kestrel

Falco tinnunculus

Grey Partridge

Perdix perdix

Pheasant

Phasianus colcicus

Moorhen

Gallinula chloropus

Eurasian Coot

Fulica atra

Oystercatcher

Haemotopus ostralegus

Lapwing

Vanellus vanellus

Ruddy Turnstone

Arenaria interpres

Golden Plover

Pluvarius apricaria

Black-headed Gull

Larus ridibundus

Herring Gull

Larus argentatus

Great Back-backed Gull

Larus marinus

Little Auk

Alle alle

Razorbill

Alca torda

Guillemot

Uria aalge

Puffin

Fratercula arcrtica

Feral Pigeon

Columba livia

Wood Pigeon

Columba palambus

Collared Dove

Streptopelia decaocto

Cuckoo

Cuculus canorus

Common Kingfisher

Alcedo atthis

Green Woodpecker

Picus viridis

Barn Swallow

Hirundo rustica

House Martin

Delichon urbicum

Pied Wagtail

Motacilla alba

Grey Wagtail

Motacilla cinerea

Wren

Troglodytes troglodytes

Dunnock

Prunella modularis

Robin

Erithacus rubecula

Stonechat

Saxicola torquata

Blackbird

Turdus merula

Song Thrush

Turdus philomelos

Redwing Turdus iliacus

Mistle Thrush

Turdus viscivorus

Bearded Tit

Panurus biarmicus

Great Tit

Parus major

Blue Tit

Parus caeruleus

Treecreeper

Certhia familiaris

Chaffinch

Fringilla coelebs

Greenfinch

Carduelis chloris

Goldfinch

Carduelis carduelis

Bullfinch

Pyrrhula pyrrhula

European Starling

Sternus vulgaris

Magpie

Pica pica

Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius

Jackdaw

Corvus monedula

Rook

Corvus frugilegus

Carrion Crow

Corvus corone

Raven

Corvus corax

Common Reed Bunting

Emberiza schoeniclus