Max Barclay

Max Barclay on fieldwork in Bolivia
  • Collections Manager, Coleoptera and Hymenoptera
  • Life Sciences department
  • Insects
Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road


My Job

In simple terms, my role as Collections Manager is to be the interface between one of the largest and most important beetle and bug collections in the world, and the present day scientific community. My job involves managing a diverse, dedicated and highly skilled team of curators, processing and administering loans, identification and incorporation of outlying, accession and new material to the collection, recuration of the collection to modern museum standards, facilitating collection access for scientific visitors, training and supervising volunteers, and public/ specialist outreach.

I am committed to increasing both specialist and public access to the Collections in my care. It is through scientific access and openness to the scientific community that the collection grows, and retains it relevance. 

I also believe it is important to make regular public presentations, radio, television and newspaper interviews and behind the scenes tours about beetles, the museum’s work, and natural history in general. This serves two essential purposes, to enthuse the next generation of scientists and naturalists, and to legitimise what we do in the eyes of the public. Public support for our work is essential, it helps to ensure funding, and also if people care about and feel involved in entomology and taxonomy, they will participate in the great battles against the destruction of natural environments, and against short sighted anti-collecting legislation. 


I have a keen interest in all aspects of natural history, particularly beetles, which I have studied in detail for over 20 years. I have a good general knowledge of world Coleoptera, and of the British fauna, collecting techniques, the history of entomology, public attitudes to collecting and natural history.

Dissertation on Research Loans

The link below attaches to my 2005 Dissertation on Museum Research Loans


This dissertation includes many of the statistics around which I have developed my Collections Management philosophy. It won a Distinction at University College London, where I took a Master of Arts in Museum Studies. It shows the importance of research loans, not only to Science, but to the Museum that sends them out.

Collections Listings

We are uploading all the catalogues of the Natural History Museum's Coleoptera collections. 

This project will be completed gradually over Autumn and Winter 2010. The following families are so far uploaded. 


Scarabaeidae: Cetoniinae

Scarabaeidae: Rutelinae




Colydiidae/ Zopheridae



Catalogues are available as Excel documents, listing species names, and whether or not Type material is present. 



Official grant funded Museum trips 

2010- Belize (3 weeks) with Howard Mendel, Donald Quicke, Gavin Broad
2009- Peru (3 weeks) with Howard Mendel 
2008- Taiwan (4 weeks) with Howard Mendel, Donald Quicke, Geoff Martin
2006- Thailand (3 weeks) with Howard Mendel, Geoff Martin, William Foster, Martin Ellwood
2004- Bolivia  (4 weeks) with Howard Mendel
Other trips

2005- Tunisia ( 1 week), with Darren Mann (Oxford University Museum)  
2004- Russia, Southern Urals (3 weeks) with the Russian Academy of Sciences
2001- Turkey (1 week), with Darren Mann  (Oxford University Museum) 
1999- Peru (3 weeks)
1997- Peru (3 weeks)  
1995- Greece  (2 weeks) 


Max Barclay Malaise Trap Iquitos

Max Barclay, collecting using a Malaise Trap in Iquitos, Peru


  • Barclay M.V.L. ( 2009 ) British Otiorhynchus 'setosulus' (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) re-identified as Otiorhynchus dieckmanni Magnano, with notes on its distribution and identification. Coleopterist 18:1 : 59-65 .
  • Morris M.G. & Barclay M.V.L. ( 2009 ) Weevils (Curculionoidea) of the Isles of Scilly. Coleopterist 18:1 : 7-13 .
  • Ochi Teruo, Kon Masahiro & Barclay M. V.L. ( 2008 ) A review of the subgenus Parascatonomus of the genus Onthophagus (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) of Borneo. Special Publication of the Japan Coleopterological Society Volume: 2 2 : 191-234 .
  • Barclay M.V.L. ( 2007 ) Comment on the proposed conservation of the specific name of Curculio contractus Marsham, 1802 (currently Ceutorhynchus contractus; Insecta, Coleoptera, Curculionidae). (Case 3367) Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 64: 2 : 122 .
  • Kirejtshuk A.G. & Barclay M.V.L. ( 2007 ) On Brachypeplus (Brachypeplus) parallelus and . (B.) euparallelus sp. nov. from Africa with notes on synonymy in the subgenus Brachypeplus (Coleoptera, Nitidulidae, Cillaeinae). Studies and Reports of District Museum Prague-East Taxonomical Series 3: 1-2 : 115-128 .
  • Newbold T., Meregalli M., Colonnelli E., Barclay M.V.L., Elbanna S., Abu Fandud N., Flegg F., Fouad R., Gilbert F., Hall V., Hancock C, Ismail M., Osamy S., Saber I., Semida, F., Zalat, S. ( 2007 ) Redescription of a weevil Paramecops sinaitus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Molytinae) from the Sinai and an ecological study of its interaction with the Sinai milkweed Asclepias sinaica (Gentianales: Asclepiadaceae) European Journal of Entomology 104: 3: : 505-515 .
  • Cooter J. & Barclay M.V.L. (eds.) ( 2006 ) A Coleopterist’s Handbook . Amateur Entomological Society 463 .
  • Quicke Donald L.J., Laurenne Nina M. & Barclay Max. ( 2005 ) A new host record for the Afrotropical parasitic wasp genus Bathyaulax Szepligeti (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Braconinae) confirmed using DNA sequence data. Journal of Hymenoptera Research. 14 : 96-101 .