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Ashleigh Whiffin

Assistant Curator of Entomology

Ashleigh Whiffin
Assistant Curator of Entomology
Specific responsibility: Curation and development of the insect collections; research loans and enquiries.
Research interests/expertise: Development of the collections of British insects; Coleoptera (especially Silphidae – carrion beetles); science communication.

Ashleigh Whiffin is Assistant Curator of Entomology specialising in Silphidae.

Ashleigh studied Forensic Science at the University of Derby, followed by an MSc in Entomology at Harper Adams University. Prior to joining National Museums Scotland she worked for the University of Edinburgh as a research technician, studying beetles. She first worked with NMS in 2014 as a collections assistant, helping to facilitate a large scale collections move. She then gained a fixed-term position as Curatorial Assistant for Entomology in 2015, followed by a permanent position in 2016, as Assistant Curator of Entomology.

She is responsible for the care, curation and development of the insect collection, containing approximately 2.5 million specimens, as well as dealing with research loans, enquiries and hosting visitors to the collection. Her research interest is focused around carrion ecology and her specialism is Silphidae (Carrion Beetles): a fascinating group which help to facilitate the decomposition of vertebrate remains.

Ashleigh is a keen science communicator and is passionate about disseminating entomology to the wider public. She employs social media as one of the tools to do this (see The Power of Social Media for more).

She works closely with several entomological groups, to promote her subject. Within the UK, she is an active member of the Royal Entomological Society, and sits on their Outreach & Development committee; she is also a member of the Malloch Society, and is the current Chair of Edinburgh Entomological Club; she works with the Biological Records Centre to co-organise a National Recording Scheme for Carrion Beetles; and internationally, she is co-communications officer for the Entomological Collections Network.

Above: Nicrophorous investigator


  1. LaneS.A. Lucas, C.B.H. & Whiffin, A.L. 2020. The Histeridae, Sphaeritidae and Silphidae of Britain and Ireland. Field Studies Publications, Telford.
  2. Akite, P., Ngumbi, E., Sconce, F., Sumner, S., Whiffin, A. & Roy, H. 2020. Sharing stories in Entomology. Antenna 44 (3): 101-105.
  3. Barnes, K.M., Whiffin, A.L., Bulling, M.T. 2019. A preliminary study on the antibacterial activity and insect repellent properties of embalming fluids from the 18th Dynasty (1550–1292 BCE) in ancient Egypt. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 25: 600-609.
  4. Lessard, B., Whiffin, A.L. & Wild, A.L. 2017. A guide to public engagement for entomological collections and natural history museums in the age of social media. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 110 (5): 467–479.
  5. Shaw, M. R., Horstman, K. & Whiffin, A. L. 2016. Two hundred and twenty-five species of reared western Palaearctic Campopleginae (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) in the National Museums of Scotland, with descriptions of new species of Campoplex and Diadegma, and records of fifty-five species new to Britain. Entomologist’s Gazette 67: 177-222.
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Investigate insects with our Assistant Curator of Entomology, Ashleigh Whiffin.

Blog posts by Ashleigh Whiffin
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A comprehensive new atlas covering 75 species across three charismatic beetle families has been launched.

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