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 Vertebrates (Subphylum Vertebrata)

- Mammals (Class Mammalia)

NatureTracking an extensive collection of detailed photographs and descriptions to help identify various mammals through their tracks, scats, and signs.

Dental Formula for Skulls   provides detailed information on dental formulas used to identify various mammal skulls by examining their teeth structure.

Field Identification Key and Guide for Bats of the United States of America This bat key and guide are intended to be used as a reference to aid accurate and efficient identification of bat species within the U.S

KEY TO THE BATS OF COLORADO This key is to provide a field key (without skeletal characters) that allows identification of bat species of Colorado.

Illustrated identification key to the bats of Europe Our new key on the European bats was written mainly for biologists aiming to identify captured living bats which would be released after identification.

Echolocation Call Characteristics of Eastern US Bats This table presents ranges for the general characterizing call parameters of echolocation calls

- Birds (Class Aves)

feather atlas is an image database dedicated to the identification and study of the flight feathers of North American birds. If you found a feather you want to ID then this is the best online resource I have found, it covers wing and tail feathers of hundreds of bird species and has multiple methods of searching the database. 

The Book of Eggs: A Life-Size Guide to the Eggs of Six Hundred of the World's Bird Species (Affiliate Link) (free pdf) I like the fact that the eggs are represented in a true to life size. I prefer the physical book for this reason but a free PDF is available at the link above. 

Peterson Field Guide To North American Bird Nests (Affiliate Link) a good reference for both bird nests as well as their eggs.  Excellent for identifying the nest you notice in the winter long after the breeding birds have abandoned the nest. 

- Reptiles (Class Reptilia)

Key to the Herpetofauna of the Continental United States and Canada (Affiliate Link) I personally own and use the second edition of this book but I'd imagine the third is just as good. Excellent resource with keys and range maps. It's commonly used in herpetology classes so it's usually not too hard to find a used copy in good condition. 

Worm Snakes VS. Smooth Earth Snakes  a quick guide I made up to show the differences between the two species. I see these misidentified quite a bit but once you know what to look for they are quite easy to tell apart. 

- Amphibians (Class Amphibia)

A Guide to Larval Amphibian Identification in theField and Laboratory I have used this resource for years now. Some species you will need to look at under pretty high magnification toad tadpoles especially. But it's a great starting point for getting larval amphibians to at least genus level 

KEY TO ADULT AND LARVAL SALAMANDERS OF ILLINOIS. While it doesn't cover all of our amphibian species in Kentucky there is enough overlap for this key to be useful. 

Fowler's VS. American Toad Another guide I made up to illustrate the differences between fowler's toad and American toads.  I had a lot of trouble myself for years telling the two toad species apart. Luckily there are some pretty easy characters to look for. I'm not sure how much hybridization goes. On between the two species but I would assume it does happen from time to time. 


The Fishes of Tennessee "The Fishes of Tennessee," my trusty sidekick in college ichthyology lab, not only dives deep into Tennessee's aquatic life but also explores species from surrounding states. It's been a journey of discovery, dotted with equal parts fascination and frustration.

The American Darters 

Kentucky Fishes "The Kentucky Fishes," produced by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, is a fairly basic yet helpful guide focusing on the state's aquatic species, particularly sport fish.


- Arthropods (Phylum Arthropoda) wonderful online resource for students doing macroinvertebrate studies. The online keys with lots of great illustrations make it easy to get aquatic inverts down to genus level quickly. THE go to resource for entomologist to get tiny and obscure species identified by experts. The site looks like it's a relic from the 90s but don't be fooled. It is one of the best websites around. 

Nuptial Flight Chart for Ants.  If you are into any keeping or want to identify what the winged queen ants are you see this handy spreadsheet will tell you what species to expect when. 

Velvet Ants of North America (Princeton Field Guides (Affiliate Link) Velvet Ants of North America is a beautiful photographic guide to the species of the wasp family Mutillidae found in the United States and Canada.

Spiders of North America (Affiliate Link) Another recent publication, filled with great information and lots of full color photos. One of the best spider guides I e ever seen. 

Horace's Duskywing Vs. Juvenal's Duskywing PowerPoint that was put together by the Alabama Butterfly Atlas that has a great description of how to separate Horace's and Juvenal's Duskywings

- Mollusks (Phylum Mollusca)

Identification of Eastern North American Land Snails

- Annelids (Phylum Annelida)

key to earthworms

- Cnidarians (Phylum Cnidaria)

- Echinoderms (Phylum Echinodermata)

- Nematodes (Phylum Nematoda)

- Platyhelminthes (Phylum Platyhelminthes)

- Poriferans (Phylum Porifera)

Lesser-known or Minor Phyla

- Bryozoans (Phylum Bryozoa)

- Tardigrades (Phylum Tardigrada)

- Rotifers (Phylum Rotifera)


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