Dr Erica McAlister

Dr Erica McAlister

Collections Manager

Department: Life Sciences
Division: LS Insects
Contact: email
Phone: 0207942 6986


I am the Collections Manager for Diptera, Siphonaptera, Archnida and Myriapoda and manage a team of 5 people overseeing a collection of between 3-4 million specimens. The collection is the most important type collection of Diptera globally and as such we receive many UK and International visitors and deal with many loan and image requests. My specific interests lie within Diptera especially medical entomology, Asilidae, and Mycetophilidae. I have carried out contract work for the MoD in Tajikistan along with Dr Ralph Harbach where we were involved in the training of mosquito identification and malaria incrimination over a three year project. I am also involved in UK Mosquito projects which have included incriminating for viruses and also for genomic resolution. I am involved in an ongoing Asilidae taxonomy research project and are currently working on a large revision of Australian species with an external Collaborator. As well as this I am involved in a project on Ethiopian Diptera working with Prof Claire Ozanne (University of Roehampton) on Church Forest Pollinators. Alongside many colleagues in the NHM including Dr Sandy Knapp I am working on a crop-wild relatives Initiative concentrating on the Diptera that is associated with Solanaceae. As well as my profession commitments I am very much involved in Public engagement both within the museum and externally. I participate in Nature Lives, Nigh Safaris, and both childrens and Adult dinosnores. Externally I have presented a Radio 4 series on Insects (Who's the Pest) as well as appearing in many others (Radio 3, 4 and BBCLondon). I have present talks to Natural History Societies, giving talks for Cafe Scientific, Pub Science and presented a Summer Lecture for the Royal Society. As well as these I have participated in Ugly Animals, Science Showoff and Museum Showoff.



Bsc, University of Manchester, United Kingdom, 1992 - 2006

PhD, University of Surrey Roehampton, United Kingdom, 1997 - 2001

Employment history


Visiting Lecturer, Imperial College, United Kingdom, 2007 - 2011

Visiting Lecturer, University of Bristol, Life Sciences, United Kingdom, 2006 - 2012

Visiting Lecturer, St Mary’s University, Life Sciences, United Kingdom, 2005 - 2006

Visiting Lecturer, University of Surrey Roehampton, Life Sciences, United Kingdom, 2001 - 2006


Cook S, Chung BY-W, Bass D, Moureau G, Tang S, McAlister E, Culverwell CL, Glücksman E, Wang H, Brown TDK, Gould EA, Harbach RE, de Lamballerie X, Firth AE (2013) Novel virus discovery and genome reconstruction from field RNA samples reveals highly divergent viruses in dipteran hosts. Plos One, 8 (11)doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0080720

Habirov Z, Manilova E, Kadamov D, Komilova S, McALISTER E, HARBACH RE (2013) Incrimination of Anopheles superpictus and An. hyrcanus as vectors of Plasmodium vivax in Tajikistan. Medical and Veterinary Entomology,

Townson H, Dyer N, McAlister E, Satoto TBT, Bangs MJ, Harbach RE (2013) Systematics of Anopheles barbirostris van der Wulp and a sibling species of the Barbirostris Complex (Diptera: Culicidae) in eastern Java, Indonesia. Systematic Entomology, 38 (1): 180 - 191. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3113.2012.00653.x

Habirov Z, Kadamov D, Iskandarov F, Komilova S, Cook S, McAlister E, Harbach RE (2012) Malaria and the Anopheles mosquitoes of Tajikistan. Journal of Vector Ecology, 37 (2): 419 - 427. doi: 10.1111/j.1948-7134.2012.00246.x

ZAROWIECKI M, Walton C, Torres E, McALISTER E, Pe Than Htun , Sumrandee C, Sochanta T, Dinh TD, Ng Lee Ching , LINTON Y (2010) Pleistocene genetic connectivity in a widespread open-habitat adapted mosquito in the Indo-Oriental Region.. Journal of Biogeography., 38 (7)doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2011.02477.x

Amorim DDS, Oliveira SS, MCALISTER E (2011) The identity of Paratrizygia conformis Tonnoir (Diptera, Mycetophilidae), with comments on its systematic position. Zootaxa, 2892 (2892): 47 - 52.

Lavigne R, McAlister E (2011) A new species of Cerdistus (Insecta: Diptera: Asilidae) from Monarto Zoological Park, South Australia, with notes on its behaviour. The South Australian Naturalist, 85 (2): 76 - 84.

Cook S, Lien NG, McAlister E, Harbach RE (2010) Bothaella manhi, a new species of tribe Aedini (Diptera: Culicidae) from the Cuc Phuong National Park of Vietnam based on morphology and DNA sequence. Zootaxa, 2661 (2661): 33 - 46.

McALISTER E (2009) The organisation and distribution of electronic data at the Natural History Museum, London. NatSCA News, 17 : 34 - 36.

Wardlaw JC, Webb NR, McAlister E, Murcott J (2000) Observations on the life cycle of Medina collaris (Fallén) (Dipt., Tachinidae).. Entomologist's Monthly Magazine, 136 : 21 - 29.

Bardgett RD, McAlister E (1999) The measurement of soil fungal:bacterial biomass ratios as an indicator of ecosystem self-regulation in temperate meadow grasslands. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 29 (3): 282 - 290. doi: 10.1007/s003740050554