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Dr Henry Disney

Dr Henry Disney

Senior Research Associate, University Museum of Zoology

Room 118 Austin Building
Office Phone: 01223 (3)36654

Research Themes

All Principal Investigators:

Natural history, taxonomy and phylogeny of the Phoridae

Research Interests

A lifelong interest in Diptera (flies, midges and gnats), especially their interactions with other organisms. I was formerly a medical entomologist in Belize (British Honduras) and Cameroon. I subsequently became interested in British Diptera, especially Meniscus Midges and Trickle Midges. I then became preoccupied (obsessed?) with Scuttle Flies. I am thus an ecologist who turned taxonomist, but now uses taxonomy as the means of being in a position to publish novel data on the natural history of scuttle flies. My main focus is now on the natural histories of the Phoridae of the world, with particular attention to those associated with social insects. Much of my work is summarised in Disney, R. H. L., 1994. Scuttle Flies: The Phoridae. London, Chapman & Hall. xii + 467pp. All this work involves much fundamental taxonomic work, as most species remain unknown to science. Much of my work is in collaboration with field workers around the world. One needs nine lives to be an entomologist - but one is never bored!

Key Publications

Selected recent publications (from a total of >500)

  • Disney, R. H. L., 2011. Forensic science is not a game. Pest Technology 5: 16-22.
  • Disney, R. H. L. & Withers, P., 2011. Scuttle flies (Diptera, Phoridae) reared from tree rotholes in France, including three new species of Megaselia Rondani. Fragmenta faunistica 54: 29-41.
  • Disney, R. H. L., Taylor, S. J. & Slay, M. E., 2010. Review of the scuttle flies (Diptera: Phoridae) recorded from caves in the USA, with new records from Arkansas and Missouri. Subterranean Biology 7: 75-96 (2009).
  • Boehme, P., Amendt, J., Disney, R. H. L. & Zehner, R., 2010.  Molecular identification of carrion-breeding scuttle flies (Diptera: Phoridae) using COI  barcodes.   International Journal of Legal Medicine 124: 577-581.
  • Disney, R. H. L., Prescher, S. & Ashmole, N. P., 2010.  Scuttle flies (Diptera: Phoridae) of the Canary Islands.  Journal of Natural History 44: 107-218.
  • Disney, R. H. L. & Rettenmeyer, C. W., 2010.  New species and new records of scuttle flies (Diptera: Phoridae) associated with Neotropical army ants
    (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).  Sociobiology 55(1A): 7-88.
  • Disney, R. H. L., 2009.  Insects of Arabia scuttle flies (Diptera: Phoridae) Part II: the genus MegaseliaFauna of Arabia 24: 249-357.
  • Disney, R. H. L., 2009.  Superfamily Platypezoidea Family Phoridae.  In Gerlach, J. (editor) Seychelles Fauna Monographs.  The Diptera of the Seychelles islands.  Chapter 11: 167-236.  Pensoft Series Faunistica 85.  Sofia-Moscow.
  • Disney, R. H. L., 2008.  Review of Neotropical Chonocephalus Wandolleck Diptera: Phoridae). Zootaxa 1772: 1-54.
  • Disney, R. H. L., 2008.  Natural history of the scuttle fly, Megaselia scalaris.  Annual Review of Entomology 53, 3.1-3.22.
  • Disney R.H.L., Rettenmeyer CW, 2007. New species and revisionary notes on scuttle flies (Diptera: Phoridae) associated with Neotropical army ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology 49: 1-58.
  • Disney, R. H. L.  2006.  Insects of Arabia scuttle flies (Diptera: Phoridae) Part I: all genera except Megaselia. Fauna of Arabia 22, 473-521.
  • Disney, R. H. L. 2005.  Duration of development of two species of carrion- breeding scuttle flies and forensic implications. Medical and Veterinary Entomology 19, 229-235.
  • Cook CE, Austin JJ, Disney R.H.L., 2004. A mitochondrial 12S and 16s rRNA phylogeny of critical genera of Phoridae (Diptera) and related families of Aschiza. Zootaxa 593: 1-11.
  • Disney, R. H. L., 2004. Species preferences for white versus yellow water traps for scuttle flies (Dipt., Phoridae). Entomologist's Monthly Magazine 140: 31-35.
  • Disney, R. H. L., 2003. The dorsal abdominal glands and the higher classification of the Phoridae (Diptera). Zootaxa 293: 1-16.
  • Disney, R. H. L., 2003. Revision of the Afrotropical species of Dohrniphora Dahl (Diptera: Phoridae). Zootaxa 196: 1-24.
  • Disney, R. H. L., 2003. Tasmanian Phoridae (Diptera) and some additional Australasian species. Journal of Natural History 37: 505-639.
  • Disney, R. H. L., 2003. Seven new species of New World Puliciphora Dahl (Diptera: Phoridae) with a new key to the Neotropical species. Zootaxa 162: 1-22.
  • Disney, R. H. L., 2002. A remarkable new genus of scuttle fly (Diptera: Phoridae) from Borneo. Annales Zoologici (Warszawa) 52: 593-596.
  • Disney, R. H. L., 2002. A new species of short-winged Triphleba Rondani (Phoridae: Diptera) from North America. Fragmenta faunistica 45: 155-161.