There are two reasonably up-to-date identification keys to the species of woodlice of Britain and Ireland; the Field Studies Council AIDGAP key by Steve Hopkin and the Linnean Society Synopsis by Oliver and Meechan.

A distribution atlas has been published by Gregory (2009) based on records received by the BMIG Woodlouse Recording Scheme. As well as distribution maps, his book contains much useful information on woodlice habitats. Updated maps including subsequent records can be viewed via the NBN Gateway.

Click here for hints on collecting woodlice.


A key to the four species of water-slater in Britain and Ireland is included in Gledhill, Sutcliffe and Williams (1993). A scanned copy of the key can be found on the BMIG FB Group

Intertidal species

The publication of Intertidal Marine Isopods (Naylor & Brandt, 2015) in particular enables identification of most intertidal species, though study of the sub-littoral species necessarily remains a specialist pursuit beyond the reach of most fieldworkers.

There is a guide to identifying Jaera species here.

Click on the link for an up-to-date checklist of British and Irish intertidal isopods


Diplopoda:  Millipedes

The most comprehensive identification guide to species of millipedes of Britain and Ireland is Blower’s (1985) Linnean Society Synopsis, which is sadly out of print.  

About a dozen species found in Britain and one found in Ireland are not described by Blower (1985). Most of these species have been described in the Bulletin of the British Myriapod Group and its continuation the Bulletin of the British Myriapod and Isopod Group.

Notes on name changes since the publication of Blower’s key are to found in the distribution atlas by Lee (2006).

A revision of the Linnean Society Synopsis is in preparation and will include all of the additional species. All of the British and Irish species are covered in a draft key produced by the recording scheme organiser, Paul Lee.

Click here for an up-to-date checklist of British and Irish millipedes.


Chilopoda:  Centipedes

The most recent comprehensive account of the identification of British Centipedes is Barber's (2009) Linnean Society Synopsis. 

Click here for the up-to-date checklist of centipedes in Britain and Ireland.

A Provisional Atlas has been produced describing the distribution of Centipedes in Britain and Ireland Barber & Keay (1988) and is available online. As well as distribution maps this has an analysis of data on habitats. 

A new comprehensive distribution atlas to British Centipedes is in preparation.

In 2022 the long awaited Atlas of the Centipedes of Britain and Ireland by Tony Barber was published. This includes a detailed account for each species, plus distribution maps, colour photos of many species, identification tips and a full bibliography. 


Symphyla and Pauropoda

A species list and references for British Symphyla can be found here, and for Pauropoda they can be found here.