Broad-bodied Chaser dragonfly (photo: Steve Orridge)

Invertebrates

About invertebrates

Invertebrates are animals that neither possess nor develop a vertebral column or backbone. As such, invertebrate  is a term of convenience covering a vast and varied range of species, familiar and unfamiliar, as the following list indicates. Scientists estimate that the majority (95%-97%) of animal species are invertebrate. They have described about 1.3 million species to date, but this is only a small fraction of the expected total number worldwide. There is still so much to discover!

There are more than 40,000 invertebrate species in the UK, and many of these are under threat as never before.

Invertebrates are vitally important to a healthy planet – humans and other life forms could not survive without them. The food we eat, the fish we catch, the birds we see, the flowers we smell and the hum of life we hear, simply would not exist without bugs. Invertebrates underpin life on earth and without them the world’s ecosystems would collapse.

Invertebrates are facing an extinction crisis. Today, thousands of invertebrate species are declining and many are heading towards extinction. Worldwide 150,000 species could be gone by 2050 if we do nothing.

Each invertebrate species plays a unique and important role in the web of life, but once lost, they cannot be replaced. Many invertebrates have incredible life stories yet to be told, and we literally don’t know what we are on the brink of losing.

The major groups of invertebrates are listed below, by phylum and class. If you want to know more detail about any of those phyla and groups, then to get started you can click on the links to the relevant Wikipedia pages given in blue bold and/or follow the links given under ‘Information and guidance’

Arthropods

Molluscs

Annelids

  • Earthworms
  • Leeches

Cnidarians

  • Hydras
  • Jellyfishes
  • Sea anemones
  • Corals

Echinodermata

  • Starfish
  • Sea urchins
  • Brittle stars
  • Sea cucumbers
  • Feather stars

Nematodes (or roundworms)

Flatworms

Sponges

Numerous smaller phyla, including: Onychophora, Tardigrada

Invertebrates in the High Peak

Use the following buttons to click through to pages and information on  those phyla, groups and species that you can find in the High Peak.

Recorded observations on iNaturalist of invertebrates around Buxton

Follow this link to see the current list and photo gallery of invertebrate species in the Buxton area recorded by the Buxton Biodiversity Recording Group – iNaturalist.

Identifying invertebrates

Buglife (see below) has lots of fascinating information on invertebrates and useful tips and tools for identifying them.

Information and guidance

Buglife is the only organisation in Europe devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates. They are actively working to save Britain’s rarest little animals, everything from bees to beetles, worms to woodlice and jumping spiders to jellyfish.

Buglife’s aim is to halt the extinction of invertebrate species and to achieve sustainable populations of invertebrates.

They are working hard to achieve this through:

– Promoting the environmental importance of invertebrates and raising awareness about the challenges to their survival.
– Assisting in the development of legislation and policy that will ensure the conservation of invertebrates.
– Developing and disseminating knowledge about how to conserve invertebrates.