Available translations: English

Purpose of the macroinvertebrate list

The Coded List aims to provide a standard set of names and identifying codes for freshwater macroinvertebrates in the British Isles. These codes are used in the CEH databases, as well as by the water industry and academic and commercial organisations. By making the list as widely available as possible, we hope to improve the ease of data exchange throughout the aquatic science community.

The list includes:

  • full listings of the aquatic invertebrates living in, or closely associated with, freshwaters
  • taxa that have become extinct in recent times.
  • names and codes for ‘artificial’ taxa (aggregates of taxa which are difficult to split)
  • names and codes for composite families used in calculation of certain water quality indices, such as BMWP and AWIC scores

Current status

The list has evolved from the checklist produced by Peter Maitland, then at the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology (Maitland, 1977), and subsequently revised by Mike Furse (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology), Ian McDonald (Thames Water Authority) and Bob Abel (Department of the Environment). That list was subject to regular revisions with financial support from the Environment Agency.

The current list retains codes and names even if the taxon is no longer found in Britain. This will enable historical records to be maintained. Vertebrates have been excluded from the list.

The current list includes a complete cross-reference of changes from the last published version of the Coded Checklist dated 28 October 2008. All changes since that date have been allocated the date of publication of this list.

The current update includes a complete revision of the Cladocera (with the assistance of the Cladocera Interest Group), the Coleoptera and the Hirudinea.

It is important that users document which version of the checklist has been used in their recording.

Format of the macroinvertebrate list

The coding system used by this checklist is a hierarchical alphanumeric code of eight characters that are subdivided into pairs. The first pair represents a major taxonomic level (eg phylum, class, order etc) which is variable from group to group, the second pair normally represents family (but may be used to represent subfamily / tribe), and the final four represent genus, subgenus and species. Each taxon also has the code of the next higher level or ‘parent’ defined. Alphanumeric codes are used for artificial taxa and where the number of names exceeds the number of characters allocated to a specified taxonomic level.

Descriptions of fields used in the ‘Code list’ tab

Field Name



Unique eight character code that identifies the major group or highest level category identified in the list


Name of the major group or highest level category


Unique eight character code that identifies the taxon


Higher taxonomic names (order, family etc)


Name of the genus (subgenus) to which the organism belongs


Name of the species


The authority for the name of the organism


A note concerning the status of the taxon


Code of the next higher taxonomic level in the list


Descriptions of fields used in the ‘Artificial Taxa’ tab

Field Name



Name of the artificial taxon


Code of the artificial taxon


Components of the artificial taxon


Descriptions of fields used in the ‘Last published changes’ tab:

Field Name Description

Name in the column headed CURRENT HIGHER TAXONOMIC NAME in the 28/10/2008 version

LASTPUB-FAMILY Name in the column FAMILY in the 28/10/2008 version
LASTPUB-GENUS (SUB-GENUS) Name in the column headed GENUS (SUB-GENUS) in the 28/10/2008 version

Name in the column headed SPECIES NAME in the 28/10/2008 version

LASTPUB-AUTHORITY Name in the column headed AUTHORITY in the 28/10/2008 version

Name in the column headed CURRENT NEW CODE in the 28/10/2008 version

NEWNAME Name of the taxon in the October 2011 list
NEWCODE Code of the taxon in the October 2011 list
CHANGED SINCE 28/10/2008 Changes made between 28/10/2008 and 30/09/2011

Indicates a taxon has been deleted from the list

Download coded macroinvertebrate list


For further information, please contact François Edwards or email CEH Enquiries

Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Maclean Building
Benson Lane
Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford
Oxfordshire, OX10 8BB
United Kingdom


Maitland, P S (1977). A coded checklist of animals occurring in fresh water in the British Isles, Edinburgh: Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, 76pp.

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