Bioimages - the Virtual Field Guide: http://www.bioimages.org.uk
BioImages offers an enormous collection of photographs of wild species and natural history objects from Britain. A few cultivated species are also included as these can be useful when recording the associated species of fungi or insects.
Despite the strap-line, the site is organised like a museum rather than a field-guide; ie photographs are grouped to illustrate the SPECIMEN rather than the SPECIES. The aim is that each set of photographs should contain sufficient information to enable a specialist in the appropriate group to confirm the identification from the photographs alone. In many groups the interpretation of species is still in flux and it may be necessary to reinterpret identifications in the light of future concepts of the species; it is hoped the photographs will generally be sufficient for this - this is why the current average is more than 12 photographs per species!
BioImages offers taxon-based links to identification-related literature, both published and online. Most of the more useful identification reference books and websites have been included, especially those which give relatively complete coverage of the group. The recent spate of superficial and/or "me too" books on popular topics haven't been included as they are not usually in print for long enough to justify the effort.
BioImages includes links to the sister site, BioInfo, when the latter has trophisms or further references pertaining to the taxon in question.
BioImages was launched in April 1998. The interface was revamped and much improved in October 2010.
||Geographically: Great Britain and Ireland form the study area for the site. The Channel Islands are excluded as they are biologically part of mainland Europe. Content is mainly taken from the study area, but extra-limital species which are "expected" could also be included. C. 10% of all the species that have ever been found in the study area are illustrated. This includes the vast majority that the non-specialist will encounter.
Taxonomically: in terms of species there is an approximately equally split between the three kingdoms: animals (mainly invertebrates - only minor coverage of birds or other vertebrates), plants and fungi. There is some coverage of microorganisms (especially fungi) but no coverage of bacteria or viruses except a few cases where they cause well-defined plant diseases.
Ecologically the content is mainly terrestrial, but coverage of freshwater and littoral habitats is improving.
||In the field (also useful to examine under a Compound Microscope).