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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.
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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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Review of the genus Dinetus Panzer, 1806 (Hymenoptera: Crabronidae: Dinetinae) with descriptions of new subgenera and new speciesOne new species of Dinetus is described and illustrated: D. hameri Notton sp.n. from the United Arab Emirates; D. politus stat. rev. is raised in rank to a full species (formerly a subspecies of D. cereolus). Two new subgenera are described: Dentidinetus Olszewski, Notton & Kitching subg.n. and Venustidinetus Olszewski, Notton & Kitching subg.n. and all known species are assigned to subgenera. An illustrated key for identification of world Dinetus species is given and a phylogenetic analysis of Dinetus based on morphological characters is presented.
What's in a name? Nomenclature for colour aberrations in birds reviewedA review is presented of the seven commonest types of colour aberrations in birds together with suggestions for a standardised universal nomenclature to identify and distinguish these aberrations. These aberrations are: Leucism (congenital absence of melanin-producing cells), Progressive Greying (progressive loss of melanin-producing cells), Albino (total absence of melanin due to lack of the key enzyme), Brown (incompletely coloured melanin), Ino (even less completely coloured melanin), Dilution (altered deposition of melanin) and Melanism (altered distribution of melanin). It is proposed that these terms should be based not only on the resulting plumage but also should distinguish the underlying processes resulting in the aberrant pigmentation. By reviewing previously used terms for colour aberrations, and cross-referencing these with my proposed terminology, errors in earlier names are pointed out, and resulting in a more comprehensive nomenclature for colour aberrations found in wild birds.
Revision of the “ Chloritis delibrata (Benson, 1836)” group (Gastropoda, Stylommatophora, Camaenidae)Chloritis delibrata (Benson, 1836), known from northeastern India, was believed to have three varietal forms, sometimes mentioned as subspecies: C. delibrata var. khasiensis (Nevill, 1877) and C. delibrata var. fasciata (Godwin-Austen, 1875) from the Khasi Hills, India, and C. delibrata var. procumbens (Gould, 1844) from Dawei in Myanmar. The reproductive anatomy of the latter form is known and does not match with those of any continental camaenid genera, but does with that of the newly examined Chloritis platytropis Möllendorff, 1894 from Thailand. The latter species is conchologically similar to Bouchetcamaena huberi Thach, 2018 (synonym of Helix fouresi Morlet, 1886), which is the type species of the genus Bouchetcamaena Thach, 2018. Thus, Bouchetcamaena can provisionally host the entire Chloritis delibrata -group with the exception of var. fasciata, which is transferred to Burmochloritis Godwin-Austen, 1920 due to the multiple reddish bands on its shell. The examination of shells deposited in the Natural History Museum, London revealed that seven morphologically distinguishable forms are present, which are accepted here as representing distinct species. Four new species are described from India: Bouchetcamaena foveata Páll-Gergely sp. nov., B. fusca Páll-Gergely sp. nov., B. raripila Páll-Gergely sp. nov., and B. subdelibrata Páll-Gergely sp. nov.
Cambrian edrioasteroid reveals new mechanism for secondary reduction of the skeleton in echinodermsEchinoderms are characterized by a distinctive high-magnesium calcite endoskeleton as adults, but elements of this have been drastically reduced in some groups. Herein, we describe a new pentaradial echinoderm, Yorkicystis haefneri n. gen. n. sp., which provides, to our knowledge, the oldest evidence of secondary non-mineralization of the echinoderm skeleton. This material was collected from the Cambrian Kinzers Formation in York (Pennsylvania, USA) and is dated as ca 510 Ma. Detailed morphological observations demonstrate that the ambulacra (i.e. axial region) are composed of flooring and cover plates, but the rest of the body (i.e. extraxial region) is preserved as a dark film and lacks any evidence of skeletal plating. Moreover, X-ray fluorescence analysis reveals that the axial region is elevated in iron. Based on our morphological and chemical data and on taphonomic comparisons with other fossils from the Kinzers Formation, we infer that the axial region was originally calcified, while the extraxial region was non-mineralized. Phylogenetic analyses recover Yorkicystis as an edrioasteroid, indicating that this partial absence of skeleton resulted from a secondary reduction. We hypothesize that skeletal reduction resulted from lack of expression of the skeletogenic gene regulatory network in the extraxial body wall during development. Secondary reduction of the skeleton in Yorkicystis might have allowed for greater flexibility of the body wall.
Revision of the Tomoderinae (Coleoptera: Anthicidae). Part III. New species and records of Macrotomoderus Pic, 1901 from China and a key to the Palaearctic speciesDescriptions of the following 23 species of Macrotomoderus Pic, 1901 new to science, from continental China, are provided as an addition to the recently published review of the genus from China and Taiwan (Telnov 2018): M. angelinii, M. belousovi, M. bicrispus, M. boops, M. bordonii, M. dali, M. daxiangling, M. femoridens, M. hajeki, M. hartmanni, M. hengduan, M. imitator, M. kabaki, M. korolevi, M. lapidarius, M. muli, M. palaung, M. similis, M. tenuis, M. transitans, M. truncatulus, M. usitatus, and M. wudu spp. nov. Additional records are provided for some poorly known species. The identification key to the species of Macrotomoderus from China, the Japanese Archipelago, and Taiwan is herewith significantly supplemented and updated. Biogeographical peculiarities and altitudinal gradient of Macrotomoderus distribution in continental China are briefly discussed.