• A new subfamily of fossorial colubroid snakes from the Western Ghats of peninsular India

      DEEPAK, V; Ruane, S; Gower, DJ (Informa UK Limited, 2019-01-18)
      We report molecular phylogenetic and dating analyses of snakes that include new mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequence data for three species of the peninsular Indian endemic Xylophis. The results provide the first molecular genetic test of and support for the monophyly of Xylophis. Our phylogenetic results support the findings of a previous, taxonomically restricted phylogenomic analysis of ultraconserved nuclear sequences in recovering the fossorial Xylophis as the sister taxon of a clade comprising all three recognised extant genera of the molluscivoran and typically arboreal pareids. The split between Xylophis and ‘pareids’ is estimated to have occurred on a similar timescale to that between most (sub)families of extant snakes. Based on phylogenetic relationships, depth of molecular genetic and estimated temporal divergence, and on the external morphological and ecological distinctiveness of the two lineages, we classify Xylophis in a newly erected subfamily (Xylophiinae subfam. nov.) within Pareidae.
    • New, north-easternmost locality for Bembidion monticola Sturm, 1825 (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in Europe: relict of ancient distribution or a result of range expansion?

      Kovalenko, YN; Telnov, Dmitry (Entomological Society of Finland, 2018-09-17)
      A new record of a subpopulation of Bembidion monticola Sturm, 1825 from Arkhangelsk region (Northern Europe, Russia) is discussed. The locality of this record is remote, about 700 km to the east from the northernmost previously known locality of this species. Ecology and distribution of B. monticola in northern Europe are reviewed, as well as possible ways of its spread further to northeast are hypothesised.
    • Next-Generation Mitogenomics: A Comparison of Approaches Applied to Caecilian Amphibian Phylogeny

      Maddock, ST; Briscoe, AG; Wilkinson, M; Waeschenbach, A; San Mauro, D; Day, JJ; Littlewood, T; Foster, PG; Nussbaum, RA; Gower, DJ; et al. (2016-06-09)
    • NHM Science and Society Blog. New plans for the Museum's green spaces: connecting people and nature

      Tweddle, JC (Natural History Museum, 2016-07-08)
      A little over a month ago, the Museum applied for planning permission to continue with an ambitious transformation of its outdoor spaces. Drs John Tweddle, Paul Kenrick and Sandy Knapp of the Museum’s Science Group provide the background to the project and clarify its impact on the Wildlife Garden.
    • No specimen left behind: industrial scale digitization of natural history collections

      Blagoderov, V; Kitching, I; Livermore, L; Simonsen, TJ; Smith, V (2012-07-20)
    • Nomenclatural notes on Anthicidae and Pyrochroidae (Coleoptera). 6

      Telnov, Dmitry (Baltijas Koleopterologijas Instituts/Baltic Institute of Coleopterology, 2018-12-23)
      Five new combinations, three new synonyms and two new statuses for the Anthicidae are proposed. New distributional data or corrections are provided on 65 taxa of Pyrochroidae and Anthicidae. Eighteen new species and subspecies are described: Anthelephila panayensis sp. nov., Anthicus (s. str.) chitwanus sp. nov., A. (s. str.) lepcha sp. nov., A. (s. str.) vicinor sp. nov., Aulacoderus muehlei sp. nov., Clavicomus garze sp. nov., C. kham sp. nov., Cyclodinus phragmiteticola sp. nov., Macratria dotyali sp. nov., M. kopetzi sp. nov., M. leprieuri gasconica ssp. nov., Macratriomima casuarius sp. nov., M. chandleri sp. nov., Notoxus reuteri sp. nov., Rimaderus bonadonai sp. nov., R. sahyadri sp. nov., Stenidius obliquesetosus sp. nov., and Tomoderus schmidti sp. nov. Additional description is given for Anthelephila kresli Kejval, 2007 and Yunnanomonticola Telnov, 2002.
    • Non-native species

      Cottier-Cook, EJ; Clark, PF; Beveridge, C; Bishop, JDD; Brodie, J; Epstein, G; Jenkins, SR; Johns, DG; Loxton, J; MacLeod, A; et al. (2017)
    • North Andean origin and diversification of the largest ithomiine butterfly genus

      Lisa De-Silva, D; Mota, LL; Chazot, N; Mallarino, R; Silva-Brandão, KL; Piñerez, LM; Freitas, AV; Lamas, G; Joron, M; Mallet, J; et al. (2017-12)
    • Notes on the sinistral helicoid snail Bertia cambojiensis (Reeve, 1860) from Vietnam (Eupulmonata, Dyakiidae)

      Sutcharit, C; Naggs, F; Ablett, J; Sang, PV; Hao, LV; Panha, S (Pensoft Publishers, 2019-11-04)
      Since the time of the original description there have been no precise locality records in Cambodia of Bertia cambojiensis (Reeve, 1860) and it was believed to be extinct. In 2012, a joint Natural History Museum survey with Vietnamese colleagues rediscovered living populations of this huge sinistral helicoid snail in a protected area of southern Vietnam. The genitalia and radula morphology are re-assessed and type specimens of all recognised congeners are figured herein. The unique morphological characters of this species are a small and simple penis, well-developed amatorial organ complex that incorporates four amatorial organ ducts, a short gametolytic organ complex and spiked papilla, and radula morphology with unicuspid teeth. The type locality of B. cambojiensis, which has been contentious, is determined here to be in the vicinity of ‘Brelum’, Vietnam, near the border with Cambodia. In addition, the nucleotide sequences of barcoding genes COI, 16SrRNA and 28S fragments were provided for further comparison.
    • A Novel Automated Mass Digitisation Workflow for Natural History Microscope Slides

      Allan, Louise; Livermore, L; Price, BW; Shchedrina, O; Smith, V (Pensoft Publishers, 2019-03-01)
      The Natural History Museum, London (NHM) has embarked on an ambitious programme to digitise its collections. One aim of the programme has been to improve the workflows and infrastructure needed to support high-throughput digitisation and create comprehensive digital inventories of large scientific collections. This paper presents the workflow developed to digitise the entire Phthiraptera (parasitic lice) microscope slide collection (70,663 slides). Here we describe a novel process of semi-automated mass digitisation using both temporary and permanent barcode labels applied before and during slide imaging. By using a series of barcodes encoding information associated with each slide (i.e. unique identifier, location in the collection and taxonomic name), we can run a series of automated processes, including file renaming, image processing and bulk import into the NHM’s collection management system. We provide data on the comparative efficiency of these processes, illustrating how simple activities, like automated file renaming, reduces image post-processing time, minimises human error and can be applied across multiple collection types.
    • Novel flaviviruses from mosquitoes: Mosquito-specific evolutionary lineages within the phylogenetic group of mosquito-borne flaviviruses

      Huhtamo, E; Cook, S; Moureau, G; Uzcátegui, NY; Sironen, T; Kuivanen, S; Putkuri, N; Kurkela, S; Harbach, RE; Firth, AE; et al. (2014-09)
    • Novel molecular approach to define pest species status and tritrophic interactions from historical Bemisia specimens

      Tay, WT; Elfekih, S; Polaszek, Andrew; Court, LN; Evans, GA; Gordon, KHJ; De Barro, PJ (Nature Research, 2017-03-27)
      Museum specimens represent valuable genomic resources for understanding host-endosymbiont/parasitoid evolutionary relationships, resolving species complexes and nomenclatural problems. However, museum collections suffer DNA degradation, making them challenging for molecular-based studies. Here, the mitogenomes of a single 1912 Sri Lankan Bemisia emiliae cotype puparium, and of a 1942 Japanese Bemisia puparium are characterised using a Next-Generation Sequencing approach. Whiteflies are small sap-sucking insects including B. tabaci pest species complex. Bemisia emiliae’s draft mitogenome showed a high degree of homology with published B. tabaci mitogenomes, and exhibited 98–100% partial mitochondrial DNA Cytochrome Oxidase I (mtCOI) gene identity with the B. tabaci species known as Asia II-7. The partial mtCOI gene of the Japanese specimen shared 99% sequence identity with the Bemisia ‘JpL’ genetic group. Metagenomic analysis identified bacterial sequences in both Bemisia specimens, while hymenopteran sequences were also identified in the Japanese Bemisia puparium, including complete mtCOI and rRNA genes, and various partial mtDNA genes. At 88–90% mtCOI sequence identity to Aphelinidae wasps, we concluded that the 1942 Bemisia nymph was parasitized by an Eretmocerus parasitoid wasp. Our approach enables the characterisation of genomes and associated metagenomic communities of museum specimens using 1.5 ng gDNA, and to infer historical tritrophic relationships in Bemisia whiteflies.
    • Novel Vectors of Malaria Parasite in the Western Highlands of Kenya

      Stevenson, J; St. Laurent, B; Lobo, NF; Cooke, MK; Kahindi, SC; Oriango, RM; Harbach, RE; Cox, J; Drakeley, C (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012-09)
      The primary malaria control techniques, indoor application of residual insecticides and insecticide-treated bed nets, are used on the basis of previously assumed key characteristics of behaviors of vectors of malaria parasites, i.e., resting and feeding indoors. Any deviation from the typical activities of a species related to exophagy (feeding outdoors) and exophily (living and resting outdoors) or to population replacement, followed by increased outdoor biting or resting, may undermine malaria control efforts. Identification of mosquitoes that transmit malaria parasites has, for the most part, relied on the use of outdated morphologic keys and, more recently, species-diagnostic PCR. Cryptic species or subpopulations that exhibit divergent behaviors may be responsible for maintaining malaria parasite transmission, and without adequate discriminatory techniques, these vectors may be misidentified and their key behavioral differences overlooked.
    • Novel Virus Discovery and Genome Reconstruction from Field RNA Samples Reveals Highly Divergent Viruses in Dipteran Hosts

      Cook, Shelley; Chung, Betty Y-W; Bass, David; Moureau, Gregory; Tang, Shuoya; McAlister, Erica; Culverwell, CL; Glücksman, Edvard; Wang, Hui; Brown, T David K; et al. (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2013-11-18)
      We investigated whether small RNA (sRNA) sequenced from field-collected mosquitoes and chironomids (Diptera) can be used as a proxy signature of viral prevalence within a range of species and viral groups, using sRNAs sequenced from wild-caught specimens, to inform total RNA deep sequencing of samples of particular interest. Using this strategy, we sequenced from adult Anopheles maculipennis s.l. mosquitoes the apparently nearly complete genome of one previously undescribed virus related to chronic bee paralysis virus, and, from a pool of Ochlerotatus caspius and Oc. detritus mosquitoes, a nearly complete entomobirnavirus genome. We also reconstructed long sequences (1503-6557 nt) related to at least nine other viruses. Crucially, several of the sequences detected were reconstructed from host organisms highly divergent from those in which related viruses have been previously isolated or discovered. It is clear that viral transmission and maintenance cycles in nature are likely to be significantly more complex and taxonomically diverse than previously expected.
    • The nutty world of hazel names – a critical taxonomic checklist of the genus Corylus (Betulaceae)

      Holstein, N; Tamer, SE; Weigend, M (European Journal of Taxonomy, 2018-02-28)
      Hazelnuts (Corylus L.) are the source of one of the globally most important nut crops. Despite their economic and cultural importance, taxonomic knowledge is poor, even the number of species is equivocal. Weak morphological differentiation, the inconsistent taxonomic treatment of horticultural selections and cultivars, and uncritical regional treatments generated a multitude of names. The situation is further complicated by an ancient history of use (at least 10 400 years), trade (at least 4000 years) and domestication (at least 2000 years). Here, we present an annotated checklist of the taxa in the genus Corylus based on an extensive literature review, electronic database research, and visits to some European herbaria. Full citations are given for all names, typifications are provided for the majority of them. Cultivars are listed if described under the rules of the ICN. We designate lectotypes and neotypes for 28 names, and discuss the identity of enigmatic C. maxima Mill., a taxon not known from the wild.