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The Natural History Museum is an international leader in the study of the natural world. Our science describes the diversity of nature, promotes an understanding of its past, and supports the anticipation and management of the impact of human activity on the environment.
The Museum's repository provides free access to publications produced by more than 300 scientists working here. Researchers at the Museum study a diverse range of issues, including threats to Earth's biodiversity, the maintenance of delicate ecosystems, environmental pollution and disease. The accessible repository showcases this broad research output.
The repository was launched in 2016 with an initially modest number of journal publications in its database. It now includes book chapters and blogs from Museum scientists.
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The first fossil Coleoptera record from the Volyn Region, Ukraine, with description of a new Glesoconomorphus (Coleoptera, Mycteridae) in syninclusion with Winterschmidtiidae (Acari) and a key to speciesGlesoconomorphus ekaterinae sp. nov. (Coleoptera, Mycteridae), representing the first ever fossil species of Coleoptera from the Volyn Region of Ukraine and the first mycterid from late Eocene Rovno amber, is described and illustrated. A key to species of the fossil mycterid genus Glesoconomorphus Alekseev, Pollock & Bukejs, 2019 is presented. The systematic position of Glesoconomorphus within Eurypinae J. Thomson, 1860 is briefly discussed. The oldest finding of phoretic Winterschmidtiidae Oudemans, 1923 mites, found on the type specimen of the new beetle species, is reported.
Correlative tomography of an exceptionally preserved Jurassic ammonite implies hyponome-propelled swimmingThe extreme rarity of soft-tissue preservation in ammonoids has meant there are open questions regarding fundamental aspects of their biology. We report an exceptionally preserved Middle Jurassic ammonite with unrivaled information on soft-body organization interpreted through correlative neutron and X-ray tomography. Three-dimensional imaging of muscles and organs of the body mass for the first time in this iconic fossil group provides key insights into functional morphology. We show that paired dorsal muscles withdrew the body into the shell, rather than acting with the funnel controlling propulsion as in Nautilus. This suggests a mobile, retractable body as a defense strategy and necessitates a distinct swimming mechanism of hyponome propulsion, a trait that we infer evolved early in the ammonoid-coleoid lineage.
Six new species of Handaoia Seyrig, 1952 (Hymenoptera, Ichneumonidae, Phygadeuontinae): the first to be described from the New WorldHandaoia Seyrig, 1952 is a small genus of Phygadeuontinae currently represented by eleven described species from Madagascar, Tanzania and Europe, and can be recognized by the combination of the distally expanded and ventrally flattened antennal flagellum, complete posterior transverse carina of the mesosternum, isolated ‘pit’ (episternal scrobe) in the mesopleuron, and a single bulla in fore wing vein 2m-cu. Most species have a distinctive combined area basalis and area superomedia on the propodeum. The following six new species from Central and South America are described and illustrated: H. cuscoensis Bordera sp. nov. from Peru, H. fritzi sp. nov. from Brazil, H. mercedensis Bordera sp. nov. from Peru, H. plaumanni sp. nov. from Brazil, H. ruizcancinoi Bordera sp. nov. from Mexico, and H. urceus sp. nov. from Brazil. A key to the New World species is provided.
The genus Orionis Shaw (Hymenoptera, Braconidae, Euphorinae) in the Old WorldThe euphorine braconid genus Orionis Shaw, 1987 is found to be more diverse in the Old World than had previously been recognised. Orionis was regarded previously as largely Neotropical, with one Oriental species (Orionis orientalis Shimbori & Shaw, 2016) known from Thailand, but we recognise an additional three species from the Oriental and Palaearctic regions. Three species of Euphorinae are transferred to Orionis Shaw, 1987 and are new combinations: Orionis coxator (Belokobylskij, 1995), comb. nov., Orionis erratus (Chen & van Achterberg, 1997), comb. nov., and Orionis flavifacies (Belokobylskij, 2000), comb. nov. Previously known from the Far Eastern Palaearctic, O. coxator has surprisingly been found in Europe, in Belgium, England and the Netherlands. The inclusion of these species in Orionis whereas most previous species have been described from the Neotropics, is justified by Bayesian analysis of the D2 region of 28S, Cytochrome Oxidase I barcode sequences, and morphology.
A global food plant dataset for wild silkmoths and hawkmoths and its use in documenting polyphagy of their caterpillars (Lepidoptera: Bombycoidea: Saturniidae, Sphingidae)Herbivorous insects represent a major fraction of global biodiversity and the relationships they have established with their food plants range from strict specialists to broad generalists. Our knowledge of these relationships is of primary importance to basic (e.g. the study of insect ecology and evolution) and applied biology (e.g. monitoring of pest or invasive species) and yet remains very fragmentary and understudied. In Lepidoptera, caterpillars of families Saturniidae and Sphingidae are rather well known and considered to have adopted contrasting preferences in their use of food plants. The former are regarded as being rather generalist feeders, whereas the latter are more specialist. To assemble and synthesise the vast amount of existing data on food plants of Lepidoptera families Saturniidae and Sphingidae, we combined three major existing databases to produce a dataset collating more than 26,000 records for 1256 species (25% of all species) in 121 (67%) and 167 (81%) genera of Saturniidae and Sphingidae, respectively. This dataset is used here to document the level of polyphagy of each of these genera using summary statistics, as well as the calculation of a polyphagy score derived from the analysis of Phylogenetic Diversity of the food plants used by the species in each genus.