Below is a list of the books and publications we use for identification. The list varies from the old British classics like Fowler and Joy to more modern works that cover the British fauna but are ostensibly concerned with European Coleoptera. We also list keys published in journals which may be more up to date than many of the books available. This isn’t an exhaustive list but the ones we have, as a group, access to. If you know of a key available not menioned below please lets us know.
Much of the list now out of print or within a journal published many years ago so accessing them may be difficult. However, most if not all, will be available in the library of the Royal Entomoligical Society. Until recently this was only open to members but now there is an arrangement whereby access is given to members of the Amateur Entomologists Society. Most of the back issues of journals can be ordered from your local library although you should be warned that if the original source of the material is the British Library there are restrictions to the amount you may copy.
Beetles of the Britain and Ireland Vol 1, Duff,A.G., 2012

Sphaeriusidae to Silphidae. First part of four volumes. Excellent.
Beetles of the Britain and Ireland Vol 4, Duff,A.G., 2016

Cerambycidae to Curculionidae. Excellent.
The Coleoptera of the British Islands, Fowler W.W., 1887

Provides a key and species description of all Coleoptera at that time. It comes in 5 or 6 volumes (the sixth published as a supplement in 1913 with H. Donisthorpe) and in two editions. The small paper edition has no plates and is considerably cheaper , the large paper edtion has numerous colour plates but can be quite expensive, It is now available on several archive sites on the web Access to a modern checklist with synonomy such as that available on The Coleopterist website is essential to use this work.
A Practical Handbook of British Beetles. Joy. 1932

Covers all the British Coleoptera as of 1932. It comes in two volumes, one text the other B&W line drawings. As with any older text the nomenclature is out of date so to use this book you should have a copy of Hodge and Jones (q,v,) excellent book and access to the Coleopterist’s website (q.v) which has a up to date checklist, with synonomy, of British Beetles. There was a reprint in 1976 and again in the 90’s by E.W Classey which will be a lot cheaper second hand but I believe is again now out of print. It should be noted that the reprint is slightly smaller than the original so the scale of the line drawings is incorrect. It has recently (2009) been published on a CD by Pisces.
Beetles of the British Isles, Linssen,E.F., 1959

Published in two volumes this is the book that many of us started with so it’s included here more out of affection than for any other reason. It’s long out of print. There are no keys but the illustrations, especially of weevils, can be of help when you are completely stumped by a specimen.
A Field Guide in Colour to Beetles, Harde, K.W., 1999

We aren’t sure whether this still in print but you should be able to pick a copy from the web. It’s basically a lot of good colour pictures, published originally in East Europe it covers european beetles but has a lot of British species. The British edition published by Blizt Editions has a forward by Peter Hammond.
Coleopterist’s Handbook, Cooter J. et al.

Published by the AES this is a great book for the beginner giving a thorough introduction to collecting and curating techniques. The later editions also give a guide to the main families. As this is written a new edition has been published including colour plates and is available from The AES. It is a must for the serious beginner and still very helpful for the experienced collector.
New British Beetles, Hodge P. and Jones R., 1995
Published by the BENHS this a must for anyone using Joy (q.v.) It covers all the beetles added to the British list since Joy and the errors in the keys and an exhaustive list of more modern keys and references for each family/genus etc. The first edition is no longer available but a new edition we understand is in preparation. We have obtained a copy of the original through our local library and expect you could find a second hand copy on the web but we’ve no idea of a price, you may be better off waiting for the second edition, although we have no idea of when that will appear or the publisher.
A Review of the scarce and threatened Coleoptera of Great Britain Part 1, Hyman, P.S. and Parsons, M.S., 1992

Joint Nature Conversation Committee
The invertebrates of living and decaying timber in Britain and Ireland, Alexander K.N.A., 2002

English Nature Research Reports no. 467
A provisional annotated checklist. Describes the biology etc. of a wide selection of wood decay insects, beetles are particularly well covered.
The insect factor in wood decay, Hickin, N.E., 1975
Associates business Programmes, Rentokil Library
Forest Insects, Bevan, D., 1987

Forestry commission handbook 1. HMSO publications
Beetles of the Czech and Slovak Republics, Hurka K., 2005

Illustrated guide with over 1000 set species photographed with short notes for each species.
British Water Beetles, Balfour-Browne F., 2003

Pisces Conservation
CD of all three volumes of Balfour-Browne's original work.
A key to the Adults of British Water Beetles, Friday, L., 1988

A quality key with plenty of line drawings though, sadly. we believe now to be out of print.
Keys to adults of the water beetles of Britain and Ireland (Part 1), Foster, G.N. and Friday, L.E., 2011
RES Handbook
Keys to adults of the water beetles of Britain and Ireland (Part 2), Foster, G.N., Bilton, D.T. and Friday, L.E., 2014
RES Handbook
Atlas of the Predacious Water Beetles of Britain and Ireland, Foster, Bilton and Nelson, 2016

National Environmental Research Council
Not just an atlas, contains a wealth of ecological and life history detail.
Coleoptera, General Introduction and key to families, Crowson, R.A., 1956
RES Handbook
A key to the Families of British Beetles, Unwin, D.M., 1988

Field Studies Council
A key with plenty of line drawings to the families of British beetles.
A monograph of the beetles associated with stored products, Hinton, H.E., 1946

Edward Arnold

Pests of field crops, Jones, F.G.W. and Jones, M.G., 1964

British Museum (Natural History)
Reprinted in 1963 by Johnson Reprint Corporation.
Crop pests in the UK, Gratwick, M., 1992

Chapman and Hall

Checklist of beetles of the British Isles, Duff, A.G., 2012 2nd edition

A concise British flora in colour, Keble Martin, W.

Useful Websites
Devoted to insect leafminers in Europe. Lots of good photos of leafmines.
Website of the Coleopterist journal. The journal is published three times a year, at the time of writing it is only 8 a year and is essential for any serious student of coleoptera. The website contains the most current checklist available which is regularly updated plus many photographs, mostly from the wild, and a lot of useful addresses.
A Czech site with a photograph of just about every Cerambycid in Europe
A polish site with numerous photos of set specimens
A truly excellent site devoted to the birds and insects of the Sherwood forest with a lovely collection of Aphodius in the wild plus many others
Pictures of adults, larvae and damage and biological details of, oddly enough, forest insect pests
Guide To Irish Carabidae
Loads of photos of european beetles in the wild
The official site for the UK ladybird survey. Contains useful photos of adult and larvae of British Ladybirds
Devoted to insect leafminers in the UK. Lots of good photos of leafmines.
Distribution data and maps of British Coleoptera and much more
The Royal Entomological Society
RES website
British Entomological and Natural History Society
BENHS website
Amateur Entomologists Society
AES website
Buglife website
Wildlife Trust for Beds, Cambs and Northants
The Wildlife trust site for just north of us. As mentioned below the resource page includes some interesting keys for the coleopterist eg one on ants and one on willows, plus the Dr. Mike Fitton key for Cantharidae
Equipment Suppliers
Anglian Lepidoptera
Watkins and Doncaster
Brunel Microscopes
B&S Entomological Supplies (Marris House Nets)
Pemberley Books
Lydie Rigout and Hillside Books
DJ and D Henshaw
34, Rounton rd. Waltham Abbey, Essex EN9 3AR
Notes on the natural history, distribution and identification of seed beetles (Bruchidae) of Britain and Ireland, Cox, M. L., 2001
The Coleopterist, Vol. 9, 2001, pp 113-147
Key with line drawings and distribution maps.
The Buprestidae of Fennoscadia and Denmark, Bily, S., 1982
Key with line drawings.
Buprestidae, Levey, B., ????
RES Handbook
Key with line drawings.
Out of print.
Provisional atlas of the Cantharoidea and Buprestoidea of Britain and Ireland, Alexander, K.N.A., 2003

Institute of Terestrial Ecology
Studies on the Biology and Ecology of Cantharidae, Fitton, M. G., 1973
Our copy only includes a key and line drawings.
We have tried to avoid giving our opinions on the keys we use but we make an exception in this case. Both Fowler and Joy, in our view, are at best unreliable with regards to Cantharis, this work however is excellent. Unfortunately it was written as part of a Ph.D and is consequently not published. Our copy was very kindly supplied by Dr. Keith Alexander.
We have recently found that a digitalised key is available on the web. This has been updated by Brian Eversham and is found at Wildlife Trust Beds, Cambs and Northants
Ground Beetles, Forsythe, T.G. 2000

Naturalists’ Handbooks 8. Richmond Publishing
Full Key and some illustrations to British carabids.
Carabidae of the Czech and Slovak republics, Hurka, K., 1996

Taxonomic key to East European species with colour plates for 200 species and many line drawings. Includes almost all British species
Provisional atlas of the ground beetles of Britain (Coleoptera, Carabidae), Luff, 1998

Institute of Terrestrial Ecology
Carabidae, Lindroth, 1974

RES Handbook
Key to British species with line drawings.
Out of print.
Carabidae, Luff, M. 2007

RES Handbook
New key to British species with line drawings within the couplets (Aidgap style) plus many colour plates.
Cerambycidae, Duffy, E. A. J., 1954
RES Handbook
Key with line drawings
Out of Print
Longhorn beetles of Fennoscandia and Denmark, Bily, S., Mehl, O. 1989
Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica
Key in English with line drawings and colour pictures
Provisional Atlas of the longhorn beetles (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae) of Britain, Twinn, P.F.G. and Harding, P.T. 1999

Institute of Terrestrial Ecology
Chrysomelidae, Leaf Beetles of Europe and the Mediterranean area., Warchalowski, A., 2003

Published in Poland this is in English and the key covers all the British species (I believe). With line drawings of nearly all aedeagi and many spermatheca.
Keys to the adults of seed and leaf beetles of Britain and Ireland, Hubble, D., 2012

Leaf Beetles of the Eastern Europe, Bienkowski, A., 2004

Published in Moscow this is in English and the key covers almost all the British species. With line drawings.
The genus Psylliodes in the UK, Cox, M. L.,1998
The Coleopterist Vol. 7 1998 pp33-65
Key with drawings of genitalia
The British species of the genus Longitarsus, Kevan, D. K.,1967
Ent.Mon.mag. 1967 103:83-110
Key with drawings of genitalia
The British species of the genus Haltica, Kevan, D. K.,1963
Ent.Mon.mag. 1962 98:189-196
Key with drawings of genitalia
Notes on the natural history, distribution and identification of British reed beetles, Cox, M. L. and Menzies, I.S.,1996
Br.J.Ent.Nat.Hist. 9:137-162
Includes a key by Cox to all British Donaciinae
Atlas of the seed and leaf beetles of Britain and Ireland, Cox, M. L.,2007

National Environmental Research Council
Not just an atlas, contains a wealth of ecological and life history detail.
Clambidae, Johnson, C., 1966

RES Handbook
Key with line drawings of aedeagi.
Ladybirds, Majerus, M. & Kearns, P., 1989

Naturalists’ Handbooks 10. Richmond Publishing
Field key to ladybirds and full key for coccinellids with colour plates and line drawings
Ladybirds, Majerus, M., 1994

The New Naturalist Library, Harper Collins
Ladybird beetles of Central Europe, Nedved, O., 2015

Academia Praha
Lagriidae, Alleculidae, Tetratomidae, Melandryidae, Salpingidae, Pythidae, Mycteridae, Oedemeridae, Mordellidae, Scraptiidae, Pyrochroidae, Rhipiphoridae, Anthicidae, Aderidae and Meloedae, Buck, F.D., 1954

RES Handbook
Key with line drawings to the above mentioned families
Out of print.
Orthocerous Weevils, Morris, M.G. 1990

RES Handbook
Key with line drawings to Nemonychidae, Anthribidae, Urodontidae, Attelabidae and Apionidae.
Broad-nosed Weevils, Morris, M.G. 1997

RES Handbook
Key with line drawings to Entiminae.
True weevils (Part 1), Morris, M.G., 2002

RES Handbook
Key with line drawings to subfamilies Raymondionyminae to Smicronychinae.
True weevils (Part 2), Morris, M.G., 2008

RES Handbook
Key with line drawings to subfamily Ceutorhynchinae
True weevils (Part 3), Morris, M.G., 2012

RES Handbook
Key with line drawings to subfamilies Curculioninae, Baridinae and Orobitidinae.
The Brentidae of Northern Europe, Gonget, H., 2003

Fauna entomologica Scandinavica. CD. Apionidae.
Dermestidae and Derodontidae
Adults and Larvae of Hide, Larder and Carpet Beetles and their relatives and Derontid Beetles, Peacock, E.R., 1993

RES Handbook
Key with line drawings and some black and white photographs.
The aquatic Adephaga of Fennoscandia and Denmark II Dytiscidae. Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica No 32

Key and many line drawings.
Elateridae of the Czech and Slovak republics, Laibner, S., 2000

Key to Elateridae with a colour photograph of all but one British species.
Provisional atlas of the click beetles (Coleoptera: Elateroidea) of the British Isles, Mendel, H., 1990
Institute of Terrastrial Ecology
Out of Print
Heteroceridae, Clarke, R.O.S., 1973

RES Handbook
Key with line drawings.
Histeroidea, Halstead, D.G.H., 1963

RES Handbook
Key to Sphaeritidae and Histeridae with line drawings.
Out of print
A key to the species of Cercyon, Foster, G. N., 1978
Balfour-Browne Club Newsletter Vol. 7 pp 4-12.
Translation of the Dr. Vogt's key appearing in Die Kafer Mitteleuropas, 1971.
The Hydrophiloidea of Fennoscandia and Denmark, Hansen, M., 1987
Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica Vol. 18
Key in English with line drawings and colour pictures
Kateretidae and Meligethinae
Pollen Beetles, Kirk-Spriggs, A. H., 1996

RES Handbook
Key to Kateretidae and Meligethinae with line drawings and black & white photographs.
Annotated Keys to the British Leiodinae, Cooter, J., 1996
Ent. Mon. Mag. Vol.132 pp 205-272
Rhizophagidae, Peacock, E.R., 1977
RES Handbook
Phalacridae, Thompson, R.T., 1958

RES Handbook
Key with line drawings.
Out of print.
Pselaphidae, Pearce, E.J., 1957

RES Handbook
Key with line drawings.
Out of print.
Beetles of the family Ptinidae of Central Europe, Zahradnik, P., 2013

Academia Praha
Scaraboidea, Britton, E.R., 1956

RES Handbook
Key to Lucanidae, Trogidae, Geotrupidae and Scarabaeidae
Out of print, see Jessop below.
Scaraboidea, Jessop, L., 1986

RES Handbook
Key to Lucanidae, Trogidae, Geotrupidae and Scarabaeidae
British ScraptiidaeLevey, B., 2009

RES Handbook
Key to scraptiidae (Anaspis and Scraptia) with figures and colour photos of set specimens.
Staphylinidae section (a), Tottenham, C.E., 1954

RES Handbook
Key to Piestinae to Euaesthetinae.
Out of print
Staphylinidae section (a), Lott, D.A., 2009

RES Handbook
Part 5 Key to Scaphidiinae, Piestinae, Oxytelinae.
Staphylinidae section (a), Lott, D.A. and Anderson, R., 2011

RES Handbook
Parts 7 and 8 Key to Oxyporinae, Steninae, Euaesthetinae, Pseudopsinae, Paederinae and Staphylininae.
Notes on British Staphylinidae 3. The british species of Sepedophilus. Hammond, P.M.
Entomologists Monthly Magazine, 1972 vol 108 pages 130-165.
key to the genus.
Tenebrionidae, Brendell,M.J.D., 1975

RES Handbook
Key with line drawings