Bringing to life spectacles of natural wonder on our doorstep


Beetle c/o Margaret Holland

Insects and arachnids are just two of the species which could be referred to as 'bugs' which feature in our Top 40..

Glow worms (not in fact a worm at all but insect larvae and adult larviform females which glow), butterflies, spiders, wood ants and moths all provide spectacles.

And you don't have to go far to see some of them... wherever you live... in fact you don't even have to go outside in the case of spiders, have a good look around your home and see how many of the UK's 640 species you can find!

Web links

BBC Science and Nature - Insects

Natural History Museum - Insects and Spiders

Butterfly Conservation

UK Moths

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Photo gallery

Watch and Listen

BBC Nature's Calendar - Visit Whitbarrow in Cumbria and join Janet Sumner on a bug safari in the limestone landscape.

Watch the video clip

BBC Nature's Calendar - Visit Thorp Perrow and watch Janet Sumner stroking a Bumble Bee.

Watch the video clip

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Tips for photographing bugs:

  • If you want to photograph flying insects on a flower or plant... Try getting into position and focussing your camera on the plant then waiting for the insects to land.
  • A macro lens will help you get really close-up shots and a tripod will ensure your camera remains steady .
  • Before leaving for a photo shoot, make sure you've packed a few essentials - a camera bag and spare batteries, a tripod (if you have one), binoculars, dull coloured camouflage clothing (avoid bright colours!) and a packed lunch!
  • Patience is a virtue... you may have to spend a long time waiting and watching to get the shots you want. Bugs don't perform to order.


Many bugs make their homes all around us and you can even buy the insect equivalent of bird boxes to encourage more of them to make a home in your garden.

Hoverfly c/o Margaret Holland

Moths live in a wide variety of habitats across the UK including woodlands, heaths, coastal areas, grasslands and country estates. The Elephant Hawk Moth is common in gardens where it feeds from tubular flowers such as honeysuckle.

There are 56 species of butterfly in Britain and Ireland but many are under threat from environmental change and the destruction of their habitats.

Chris Packham

Chris' Photo Tips

Chris Packham provides a guide to the mysterious art of digiscoping.


Starling flocks

Getting into the field

Top tips for getting out and about nature watching, from planning the trip to what to do when you get there.


Meet the photographers

Find out a bit more about some of the people whose photographs feature on the BBC Nature's Top 40 website.


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