London Natural History Society The place for wildlife in London

London Natural History Society - The place for wildlife in London

About LNHS

London's biodiversity faces new challenges from climate change and development pressure. You can contribute to the conservation of wildlife in the London area by helping to record the changing fortunes of the many species that live here. Together with our historic records, this information will help us to tackle the conservation issues of the future.

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 The London Natural History Society comprises of a number active sections focusing on specific taxonomic groups or wildlife sites.

Ecology is the study of habitats, the organisms that live there, and the inter-relationships between them. It also encompasses the relationships between organisms and their physical environment.

Entomology is the study of insects - a very large and diverse class of organisms that lies at the base of many food chains. For example many species of birds depend on insects for food. Insects are among the first groups of organisms to respond to climate change, hence the continuing importance of the monitoring and recording of changes in insect distribution.

Habitats within our region range from ruderal habitats, post-industrial brownfield sites, nature reserves, chalk downland, woodland, lowland heath and wetlands. All of these habitats have their own sets of typical species.

The London region is a surprisingly good one for the study of ecology and entomology. Mammals, from rats to bats, are well represented in our region and the variety of habitat types means that there is a wide range of invertebrate life - bees, beetles, moths, butterflies, grasshoppers, dragonflies, spiders, millipedes and much more.

London’s rivers and canals have fishes, plant life, crabs and aquatic invertebrates. The Thames estuary area, in addition to its importance for bird life, is a 'biodiversity hotspot' for invertebrates. Our interests are wide, covering all aspects of ecology and natural history. Although birds and plants have their own LNHS sections these are also integral to what is studied by our section. Woodland, for example, is home to plants, birds and insects and all are inter-connected in the ecology of the site, along with its geology.

Ecology & Entomology (or ‘E&E’ for short) is the section of the LNHS responsible for recording the invertebrates and groups not covered by the London Bird Club and the Botany section.

What does the Ecology & Entomology section cover?

EE Invert IDE&E is home to a large number of recorders, including those with a general interest in natural history and a wide variety of individuals with specialist interests (the latter often taking up roles as Society Recorders). Currently, the E&E section has Society Recorders for the following groups:

  • Spiders

  • Harvestmen & False scorpions

  • Centipedes

  • Ground beetles & Ladybirds

  • Leaf beetles

  • Soldier beetles & Longhorn beetles

  • True flies

  • True bugs

  • Bees and Wasps

  • Ants

  • Butterflies

  • Moths

  • Grasshoppers & Crickets

  • Dragonflies & Damselflies

  • Plant galls

  • Earthworms

  • Reptiles & Amphibians

  • Mammals

We are very happy to welcome those with expertise in new groups so please get in touch if you would like to apply to be a Society Recorder for a group not listed above. Notable vacancies currently include:

  • Fish

  • Riverflies

  • Molluscs

  • Woodlice

  • Millipedes

Ecology & Entomology section events

E&E events are open to all, including both LNHS members and non-members. Click here for the LNHS event programme.

Earthworm ID Workshop at NHM SQUAREE&E Talks are 'indoor meetings' with diverse themes covering the monitoring of species, nature conservation and other subjects of interest in the natural world. These meetings are also an opportunity to meet others interested in the subject under discussion and may spill over into a local pub afterwards! They include the section AGM and the annual Brad Ashby Memorial Lecture (delivered in partnership with the British Entomological & Natural History Society).

ID Workshops are 'indoor meetings' led by experts that teach the knowledge and skills needed to begin your journey into learning how to ID a species group, for example bees or earthworms.

Hampstead Heath earthworm surveying SQUAREField Meetings usually take place on a Saturday or Sunday. They can be full or half-day events and offer an excellent opportunity to learn about groups such as Butterflies, Beetles and Spiders;

  • to learn and develop ID skills.

  • to get a feel for the range of species you might expect to find in each type of habitat.

  • to meet others interested in natural history.

Meetings are generally led by local experts and are suitable for naturalists with all levels of knowledge including complete beginners.

How to get involved?

Aside from attending our events, there are many ways that you get involved with E&E…

Biological Recording is at the core of E&E and our Society Recorders are always happy to receive records of your species observations within the LNHS Recording Area. If you have a specialist interest, we recommend that you contact the relevant Society Recorder directly. Otherwise, you can submit species records for any group through the LNHS iRecord activity:

Photography is a keen interest of many of our members and a large selection of photographs can be viewed through the LNHS Ecology & Entomology Flickr site:

Facebook is our social media platform of choice for sharing E&E news and providing a forum for members to ask questions and discuss interesting finds. E&E uses Facebook as our social media platform of choice:

Joining the E&E Committee is a great way to put your existing skills to good use or even develop new ones. Each committee member has a specific role and we are always on the lookout for more helpers with organising events, managing social media and producing informative content for the website. Check out the Contact us page to find out how to get in touch.

Ecology & Entomology section projects

Red Admiral on MapThe E&E section also undertakes projects related to the natural history of London, such as distribution atlases to assess the state of a given species group.

London Butterfly Atlas Project During the 80’s (1980-86 to be exact) the distribution of butterflies in London was mapped in ‘The Butterflies of the London Area’ atlas. We are currently undertaking a project to re-record London's butterflies and report on what changes have occurred since the 1980s. the project will culminate in the publication of a new printed distribution atlas. More details of this exciting and worthwhile project are on the London Butterfly Atlas project webpage.

Wildlife portraits

The Dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) is a scarce nocturnal mouse that requires open wooded habitats such as hazel coppice. In our area it is found in North Kent and the London Boroughs of Croydon and Bromley. It is vulnerable to changes in woodland management or fragmentation of its habitat.

Photo © Peter Gasson

White Bryony (Bryonia alba) is a member of the melon family. It is the sole host for a species of leaf miner, and its pollen is food for a species of solitary bee. Here photographed growing near London Bridge Station.

Photo © Marc Carlton

The Wasp Spider (Argiope bruennichi) has spread throughout the London area in recent years. This could be because of climate change, or because of an increase in grasshoppers and crickets, its preferred food, due to changes in grassland management regimes.

Photo © Mick Massie

Sometimes called 'London's Butterfly', the Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) favours woodland edge and woodland glade habitats. In recent years it has become one of the most frequently-seen butterflies in the London area.

Photo © Peter Gasson

This red ferny outgrowth on the stems of wild roses is called a 'Robin's Pincushion' (Diplolepis rosae). It is caused by a gall wasp that lays its eggs in the stems or buds of rose bushes.

Photo © Kerstin Luechow