A cartoon Feathertail Glider sitting on a branch next to the words Feathertail Photography.
A cartoon Feathertail Glider sitting on a branch next to the words Feathertail Photography.

Resources

Friends often ask us for assistance with identifying creatures they’ve spotted in their garden or their local park. If you don’t have someone like us to call on, there are plenty of resources out there to help you!

This page contains some of my go-to references.

Online resources


General Australian Museum I’ve been a fan of this natural history museum since I was a kid. Their website has a huge section on Australian animals, with digital fact sheets and information on mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs, marine life, insects, and even extinct Australian fauna.
Queensland Museum The Animals of Queensland section has info and pictures on commonly-encountered insects, spiders, reptiles, frogs, sea life, fish, crustaceans, mammals, molluscs and parasites. They also have a very cool ask an expert feature, which I have used a few times!
Atlas of Living Australia The ALA is a collaborative, digital, open infrastructure that pulls together Australian biodiversity data from multiple sources. It’s so big that it can be a bit challenging to find what you’re looking for, but they do have pages on Australia’s iconic species, and a tool that allows you to search your local area to find out which species have been recorded there.
Birds Birdlife Australia Use the Find a Bird tool to browse Birdlife Australia’s comprehensive database of Australian bird images and information.
Birds in Backyards A Birdlife Australia project that focuses on commonly-encountered backyard birds. The site has an excellent Bird Finder tool where you can search based on bird size, shape, colour, and distinctive features.
Bushpea Photos of 710 Aussie bird species (and a bunch of other animals and insects) by Vik Dunis, Larry Dunis, Nikki Dunis, Geoff Walker, and Kay Parkin. I love this site as it’s super-easy to navigate and has handy thumbnail galleries of all the birds sorted by group—you can browse through and nearly always spot the one you’re looking for.
Fish & Crustaceans Fishes of Australia Information on the diversity and biology of Australia’s marine and freshwater fishes, including interactive keys to assist with identification.
Freshwater Crayfish of Australia A full list of all freshwater crayfish species found in Australia (with images) by Rob McCormack at Australian Aquatic Biological.
Identifying Sharks and Rays A PDF developed by the NSW Department of Primary Industries to assist commercial fishers.
Frogs Frogs of Australia Descriptions, images, and distribution information for Australian frogs, all filterable by state and region.
Insects & Spiders Arachne.org.au The electronic version of A Field Guide to Spiders of Australia by Robert Whyte and Greg Anderson, the most comprehensive account of Australian spiders ever published.
Aussie Bee Info about Australia’s 1700 native bee species, with an ID guide and helpful galleries.
Australian Lepidoptera Info and images of 5081 Australian caterpillars, butterflies and moths. The site was built by Don Herbison-Evans and Stella Crossley, and also has a great list of links to other helpful sites.
Beetles of Australia I’m not sure who owns this site, but it has a LOT of photos of Australian beetles.
Brisbane Insects and Spiders An extensive online resource developed by amateur naturalist Peter Chew. If you’re looking for an insect or spider and aren’t sure where to start, this is a great place to begin, even if you don’t live in south-east Queensland.
Cicadas of Australia An extensive online resource by L.W. Popple. Contains a wealth of images, distribution information, and links to other cicada resources.
Donald Hobern’s Australian Lepidoptera collections Donald Hobern is former Director of the Atlas of Living Australia, a life-long amateur naturalist, and a moth expert. He has tens of thousands of moth pics on Flickr—his Australian Lepidoptera collections are a great place to look for IDs.
DragonflyPix Photos of European and Australian dragonflies and damselflies.
Ladybirds of Australia A CSIRO entomology site by Adam Slipinski, Anne Hastings, and Ben Boyd. There’s an excellent easy-to-browse gallery that makes short work of species ID.
Life Unseen An extraordinary collection of insect and spider images by macro photographer and insect enthusiast Nick Monaghan. (Check out the gorgeous wildflower galleries while you’re there.)
Spiders of Australia Photos of Australian spiders by Ed Nieuwenhuys.
Reptiles Australian Reptile Online Database (AROD) A searchable database containing information on all currently recognised Australian reptile species, with excellent info and photos.
Plants & Fungi Australian National Botanic Gardens Heaps of resources here, including specific information on Eucalypts, Orchids, Mistletoes, Ferns, Bryophytes, Lichens, and Fungi.
Noosa’s Native Plants The electronic version of Stephanie Haslam’s book, featuring pics and information about plants of the Sunshine Coast, Cooloola and Fraser Island. The Find A Plant tool allows you to search by flower colour, fruit colour, plant type, and more.
Weed Identification (Brisbane) An interactive tool for identifying weeds that grow around Brisbane, including information on control methods and native alternatives.

I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the country where I live and work, the Gubbi Gubbi people.

I pay respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture.