The State of Access to NW Invertebrate Data via NBN Atlas

Page updated on 11th Sept 2020

The National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas provides a platform for the UK biological data to be shared. It is run by NBN Trust, a charity with the aim of improving the availability of high resolution and high quality data to provide the evidence base for all environmental decision-making in the UK. Learn more

For invertebrate recorders, NBN Atlas can provide important context about a species record: is it rare? Is it new to the area / county? Does this record represent a distributional expansion? However, it’s sometimes unclear how comprehensive or up to date the picture of records you’re seeing is.

The idea behind this page is to highlight to recorders what key datasets are missing / far out of date and what level of detail can be seen or downloaded. This can help indicate what further research may be needed (e.g. contacting a LERC or Scheme for data). County Recorders, local atlases, checklists and museum collections are other important sources to check. Many new and historical NW checklists are downloadable from the resources pages, including signposting of online local atlases. Go to resources.

Local Environmental Records Centre datasets

RECORD (Cheshire)

No invertebrate datasets have been submitted to NBN Atlas for over 4 years and current datasets only cover a very limited number of families / orders. For example, there are no records for two major orders; Diptera (True Flies) and Hemiptera (True Bugs), and Coleoptera (Beetles) is only represented by a single family; Coccinellidae (Ladybirds). The current datasets (below) are only available at low resolution (10 km) with no recorder or abundance information.

Higher resolution (2 km for non-protected species) access covering all invertebrate groups is provided via the RECORD website Data Search Facility but recorder names are not included and data cannot be downloaded (although is it possible to copy and paste each results page). Full resolution data is usually made available to the (voluntary) recorder community at no cost by contacting info@record-lrc.co.uk. Go to Data Search Facility.

DatasetResolutionRecords uptoNo. RecordsNotes
Aculeate Hymenoptera (bee, wasps and ants) 10 km24/08/201610,217No recorder or abundance info
Butterflies10 km24/08/2016268,930No recorder or abundance info
Coccinellidae (ladybirds)10 km17/08/20168,445No recorder or abundance info
Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies)10 km17/08/201627,353No recorder or abundance info
Orthoptera (Grasshoppers and crickets)10 km17/08/20161,289No recorder or abundance info

Greater Manchester Ecology Unit (GMEU)

None of the three datasets containing invertebrate records have data newer than February 2016 and most records are for butterflies only at low (10 km) resolution without recorder or abundance information (see table below). There may be a small number of protected invertebrates species records from other taxonomic groups contained in the ‘Species of Conservation Interest’ dataset, also at low resolution with no details. 

Access to full resolution data for volunteer recorders and groups can usually be given free of charge by request to info@gmwildlife.org.uk. More information can be found on the GMEU website

DatasetResolutionRecords uptoNo. RecordsNotes
Butterflies10 km18/11/20147641Excludes any protected, UK BAP or any INNS (as defined by the Environment Agency). No recorder or abundance information.
Species of Conservation Interest in Greater Manchester10 km 29/2/201615062Records of BAP and protected species in Greater Manchester not included in other GMEU data sets. Most records don't relate to invertebrates.
Bolton Museum Butterflies10 km20/9/200415275No recorder or abundance information

Lancashire Environmental Record Network (LERN)

LERN publishes the vast majority of records in a single dataset on NBN Atlas at 2 km resolution, covering all invertebrate groups (see table below). The most records are 31/12/2016. No recorder, site or abundance information is included and dates are in whole year format only.

Access to full resolution data for volunteer recorders and groups can usually be given free of charge. See LERN’s Data Sharing and Usage Policy.

DatasetResolutionRecords uptoNo. RecordsNotes
LERN Records (includes all invertebrate groups) 2 km31/12/20161417679 (incl. non-inverts)Date only supplied at whole year resolution. No recorder or abundance info.

Merseyside BioBank

BioBank publishes five datasets covering all invertebrate groups, including two datasets containing unverified records. The newest records are Feb 2017. All datasets are downloadable at 2 km resolution with the exception of ‘North Merseyside Local Species Data’, which is available at full resolution (see table below). No recorder, site or abundance information is included in any dataset.

Access to full resolution data for volunteer recorders and groups can usually be given free of charge but see BioBank’s Partner Support webpage and contact info@merseysidebiobank.org.uk for more information.

DatasetResolutionRecords uptoNo. recordsNotes
Merseyside BioBank (unverified)2 km31/10/2016153570 (incl. non-inverts)No recorder or abundance information
Merseyside BioBank (verified)2 km31/10/2016231411 (incl. non-inverts)No recorder or abundance information
Merseyside BioBank Active Naturalists (unverified)2 km04/01/201719947 (incl. non-inverts)No recorder or abundance information
Merseyside BioBank Active Naturalists (verified)2 km13/09/201617210 (incl. non-inverts)No recorder or abundance information
North Merseyside Local Species Data (DEFRA Grant 23169)Full22/02/201743928 (incl. non-inverts)No recorder or abundance information

National Recording Schemes

Access to National Recording Scheme data via NBN Atlas varies between schemes from completely up to date datasets with hundreds of thousands of detailed records at full resolution all the way through to no data published. There can be a variety of reasons for such discrepancies in data availability via NBN Atlas such as capacity, resources (most schemes are run by volunteers), and data sharing policies.

22 schemes (+ other surveys) currently have an arrangement between the Biological Records Centre (BRC) and NBN Atlas whereby iRecord datasets are updated every 2 months at full resolution (see iRecord NBN Sharing page for the most up to list). This represents the closest to β€˜live’ invertebrate data currently available via NBN Atlas. Some schemes such as those run by the British Arachnological Society and BWARS whom don’t currently publish datasets on NBN Atlas host informative websites with distribution maps, status and ecological information for UK species.

Recording Scheme
(with links to dataset info)
GroupResolutionRecords uptoNo. RecordsNotes
Acari Recording Scheme (mites)ArachnidsN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020). See 2019 NW Oribatida mites checklist.
British Arachnological Society, Spider Recording SchemeArachnidsN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020). Maps and species ecology info via BAS website
British Arachnological Society, Harvestman Recording Scheme ArachnidsFull30/04/200425,486A BRC dataset. Data originating from the BAS. No recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020). Maps and species ecology info via BAS website
British Arachnological Society, Pseudoscorpion Recorders' Group
ArachnidsN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020). Maps and species ecology info via BAS website
Pseudoscorpion Recording Scheme - records verified via iRecord
ArachnidsFullUpdated every 2 months355
Barkfly Recording Scheme: Psocoptera (outdoor species)BarkfliesN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020). Species accounts available via BRC website
Balfour-Browne Club (Water Beetles)BeetlesFull25/12/2003284,968
Chrysomelidae Recording SchemeBeetlesFullUpdated every 2 months13,447iRecord data only
Soldier Beetles, Jewel Beetles & Glow-worms Recording SchemeBeetlesFull02/10/199940,481No recorder information
The National Longhorn Beetle Recording SchemeBeetlesFullUpdated every 2 months11,690iRecord data only
The Weevil and Bark Beetle Recording SchemeBeetlesFullUpdated every 2 months15,894iRecord data only, which in this case includes unverified data. See also 2019 VC58-60 Checklist by C. Washington.
Ground Beetle Recording Scheme (main database)
Ground Beetle Recording Scheme (iRecord)
BeetlesFull31/12/2014 + iRecord dataset updated every 2 months 339,218 + 17,458 (via iRecord)BRC datasets. iRecord dataset includes unverified records.
UK Ladybird SurveyBeetlesFullUpdated every 2 months82,480iRecord data only (contains virtually all scheme data) - on BRC dataset
Atomariinae Recording Scheme Beetles10 km 15/08/199210,699No recorder information. Dataset is Atomariine Beetle (Coleoptera) records for Britain and Ireland to 1992. Recording scheme is no longer active so there is no mechanism for updating this taxon group.
Dermestidae Recording Scheme BeetlesN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020)
Elateroidea Recording Scheme BeetlesN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020)
Clown Beetles Recording Scheme BeetlesN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020)
Ptiliidae Recording Scheme BeetlesN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020)
Scarabaeoidea Recording Scheme BeetlesN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020)
Scirtidae Recording Scheme BeetlesN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020)
Silphidae Recording Scheme BeetlesFullUpdated every 2 months5,058iRecord data only
Staphylinidae Recording Scheme BeetlesN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020)
Stenini Recording Scheme BeetlesN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020)
Tenebrionoidea Recording Scheme BeetlesN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020)
Non-scheme Coleoptera via iRecordBeetlesFullUpdated every 2 months5,459Coleoptera records from iRecord for families not covered by a recording scheme. A BRC dataset
Butterfly Conservation (Butterflies) Butterflies and Moths1 km31/12/2014433,024Only Scottish data
Butterfly Conservation (Moths)Butterflies and Moths2 km31/12/19996,518,294Pre-2000 data for all moths even though meta-data says macro moths only upto 2015.
Crambidae & Pyralidae Recording SchemeButterflies and MothsN/AN/AN/ASee Butterfly Conservation (Moths)
Gelechiid Recording Scheme Butterflies and MothsN/AN/AN/ASee Butterfly Conservation (Moths)
Incurvarioidea Recording Scheme Butterflies and MothsN/AN/AN/ASee Butterfly Conservation (Moths)
Leaf-mining Moth Recording Scheme Butterflies and MothsN/AN/AN/ASee Butterfly Conservation (Moths)
Plume Moth Recording Scheme Butterflies and MothsN/AN/AN/ASee Butterfly Conservation (Moths)
Hypogean macro-Crustacea recordsCrustaceansNo data showing24/05/20141963
British Myriapod and Isopod Group, Woodlice & Waterlice Recording Scheme CrustaceansNo data showingN/AN/ANo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020)
British Dragonfly Society Recording SchemeDragonflies & DamselfliesFull29/11/20191,522,453Species accounts via BDS website
Earthworm Society of BritainEarthwormsFull23/10/201913,633A British Isles checklist and detailed information on all aspects of the scheme can be found on the ESOB website.
Freshwater Flatworm Recording Scheme: Tricladida (freshwater species)FlatwormsN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020)
Terrestrial Flatworm Recording Scheme: Tricladida (terrestrial species)FlatwormsN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020)
Siphonaptera and Phthiraptera Recording Scheme Fleas & liceFullUpdated every 2 months50A BRC dataset. iRecord verified data only.
Grasshopper Recording Scheme (main database)
Grasshopper Recording Scheme (via iRecord)
Grasshoppers and CricketsFull19/11/2015 + via iRecord (updated every 2 months)110,866 + 28,732 via iRecordBRC datasets. Species accounts can be found on the scheme website.
Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society (BWARS)HymenopteraN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020). Detailed species accounts with images and 10 km resolution maps are on the BWARS website. See also the online Cheshire Aculeate Atlas and 2019 Lancs checklist.
Bees, Wasps and Ants. A BRC Dataset via iRecordHymenopteraN/AUpdated every 2 months171,556See also the online Cheshire Aculeate Atlas and 2019 Lancs checklist.
Parasitic Wasps Recording Scheme: Hymenoptera: Ichneumonoidea (nocturnal)HymenopteraN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020). Keys and literature are on the scheme website. See also 2018 NW Checklist.
Sawfly Recording Scheme HymenopteraFullUpdated every 2 months11,295iRecord data only - on BRC dataset
Lacewings and Allies Recording Scheme Lacewings and alliesFull31/03/199918,501A BRC dataset.
Conchological Society of Great Britain & IrelandMolluscsFull13/01/2020677,178Various datasets -richest dataset for NW is 'Mollusc (non-marine) data for Great Britain and Ireland'. Detailed species accounts can be found on the scheme website.
British Myriapod and Isopod Group, Centipede Recording Scheme MyriapodsN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020). Detailed species accounts can be found on the BMIG website.
British Myriapod and Isopod Group, Millipede Recording Scheme MyriapodsFull12/12/200548,243No recorder information. Data from the 2006 atlas published by BMIG. Detailed species accounts can be found on the BMIG website.
Ephemeroptera Recording Scheme (Mayflies)RiverfliesFulliRecord dataset updated every 2 months211,895Recorders from countryside agencies are not named. Main dataset goes upto 2017. iRecord data is updated monthly.
Plecoptera Recording Scheme (Stoneflies)RiverfliesFulliRecord dataset updated every 2 months40,106Bulk of the records come from a dataset 'Stonefly (Plecoptera) Data for Great Britain for 1955-2005'. iRecord data is updated monthly. See also 2016 NW Checklist.
Caddisfly Recording Scheme (iRecord)
Caddisfly Recording Scheme (main database)
Caddisfly Recording Scheme (iNaturalist)
RiverfliesFulliRecord dataset updated every 2 months453,404Three datasets on NBN Atlas; those from iRecord (updated monthly), the recording scheme database (upto 31/12/2018) where the bulk of the records originate, and also records verified from iNaturalist. See also 2016 NW Checklist.
Collembola Recording Scheme Springtails10 km 31/08/200810,633No recorder information
Tick Surveillance Scheme TicksFull13/08/20084,591No recorder details
Aquatic Heteroptera Recording Scheme True BugsFull18/11/201241,887Detailed species accounts can be found on the scheme website.
Terrestrial Heteroptera Recording Scheme (Shieldbugs & allied species)True BugsFull06/06/201712,613Three datasets including one via iRecord. Detailed species accounts and an extensive image gallery can be found on the British Bugs website.
Auchenorrhyncha Recording Scheme True BugsN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020). Detailed species accounts and an extensive image gallery can be found on the British Bugs website.
Terrestrial Heteroptera Recording Scheme - Plant bugs and allied species True BugsN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020). Detailed species accounts and an extensive image gallery can be found on the British Bugs website. See also 2011 NW Heteroptera checklist.
Psylloidea Recording Scheme True BugsN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020). Detailed species accounts and an extensive image gallery can be found on the British Bugs website.
Stilt & Stalk Flies Recording SchemeTrue Flies1 km30/09/20164,083Dataset provided by Dipterists Forum
Anthomyiid Recording Scheme True FliesFullUpdated every 2 months19,571This iRecord dataset makes up the complete recording scheme dataset.
Agromyzidae Recording Scheme True FliesN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020)
Calliphoridae Recording Scheme True FliesFullUpdated every 2 months1,063iRecord data only - on BRC dataset
Chironomidae Study Group True FliesN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020)
Chloropid Study Group True FliesN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020)
Conopidae, Lonchopteridae & Picture-winged Fly Recording Scheme True FliesN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020)
Cranefly Recording Scheme (main database)
Cranefly Recording Scheme (iRecord)
True Flies1 km31/12/2016 + via iRecord (updated every 2 months)137,437 + 17,502 via iRecordCranefly (Diptera; Tipuloidea) records for Britain to 2016 dataset from BRC plus an iRecord dataset. See also 2017 NW Checklist.
Dixidae and Thaumaleidae Recording Scheme: Meniscus midges True FliesFull31/12/19881,462Not strictly a Recording Scheme dataset. Held by the BRC and checked by the Scheme Organiser at the time.
Empididae, Hybotidae & Dolichopodidae Recording Scheme True FliesN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020). See also 2019 NW Empidoidea checklist.
Fungus Gnat Recording Scheme True FliesN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020). See also historical NW checklist.
Heleomyzid Recording Scheme - data verified via iRecord True FliesFullUpdated every 2 months809
Hoverfly Recording Scheme True FliesN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020). Species accounts and distribution maps are on the scheme website. See also 2020 VC58-60 checklist by G. Rostron.
Non-scheme Diptera via iRecordTrue FliesFullUpdated every 2 months25,900Diptera records from iRecord for families not covered by a recording scheme. A BRC dataset.
Mosquito Recording Scheme True FliesFull10/09/19933,096No recorder information
Oestridae Recording Scheme True FliesN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020)
Pipunculidae Study Group True FliesN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020)
Flat-footed Fly Recording Scheme: PlatypezidaeTrue FliesN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020)
Sarcophagidae Recording Scheme (a Dipterists Forum dataset)True FliesFullUpdated every 2 months2,268iRecord data only
Scathophagid Recording Scheme True FliesN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020)
Sepsidae Recording SchemeTrue FliesFullUpdated every 2 months2,023iRecord data only. One of the Dipterists Forum datasets. See also 2017 NW Checklist.
Snail-killing Flies Recording Scheme: SciomyzidaeTrue FliesN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020)
Soldierflies and Allies Recording SchemeTrue FliesFullUpdated every 2 months37,808 Scheme pages on BRC website contains 2018 provisional atlas download. See also 2017 NW Checklist.
Tachinid Recording Scheme (main database)
Tachinid Recording Scheme (iRecord)
True FliesFull08/11/2015 + iRecord dataset updated every 2 months22,586 + 11,590 via iRecordBRC datasets. Species accounts and various identification aids are on the scheme website.
Tephritid Flies Recording Scheme True FliesN/AN/ANo recordsNo recording scheme data on NBN Atlas currently (as of 10/9/2020)
Cladocera Interest Group (Water fleas)Water FleasFull02/11/20162,969Downloadable 10 km resolution distribution maps are on the scheme website.