My research interests focus on extant and fossil spiders and insects. They cover a broad spectrum taxonomically, geographically, geologically and theoretically. They include: extant and fossil spider taxonomy and systematics; evolutionary history of spiders; the qualitative and quantitative use of data in testing hypotheses of palaeoecology and palaeogeography; preservation bias of organisms preserved in amber; reconstruction of fossil ecosystems; the effects of mass extinctions on terrestrial invertebrate faunas; the timing of the radiations of the major extant spider families; the completeness versus the adequacy of the spider fossil record; predator–prey co-evolutionary processes; and the origins and current biodiversity of the Greater Antillean spider fauna. I am particularly interested in the application of amber derived data in quantitative palaeobiological studies of broad interest. Basically, I am interested in all sorts of different research fields relating to arachnology and entomology, both neontological and palaeontological, qualitative and quantitative, including the application of the latest technologies. During my research I have been lucky enough to travel to countries throughout Europe and further afield (e.g. Russia, USA, South Africa, Lesotho, Panama, Lebanon, Dominican Republic to name a few). My research has not been funded since late 2005 (apart froma 2-month ancient DNA study). If you would like to sponsor my research and have a new species named after you for doing so please drop me an email (donors will be acknowledged in a subsequent publication).

Doing reseach in the Entomology Department, Manchester Museum

Collecting amber

Lebanon, 2003

Ancient DNA extraction laboratory

University of Manchester



General amber palaeontology

Taxonomy of fossil spiders and insects preserved as fossils in amber.


University of Manchester, UK

DSc Amber Palaeobiology

Applying advanced research techniques

Computed tomography scanning of fossils in amber and Next Generation DNA Sequencing.

Palaeoecology/Macroevolutionary patterns

Using quantitative techniques to understand past patterns and processes in extinct ecosystems.

Extant spiders and insects

Biodiversity and ecology of living spiders and insects.

1994 - 1998

University of Manchester, UK

PhD Fossil Spiders in Dominican Amber

1991 - 1994

University of Manchester, UK

BSc Zoology

Blue pansy male
Baltic amber sciarid gnats mating
Mesoraphidia snakefly, Mongolia
T. ameliae named after Amelia Penney
Baltic amber spider Nesticidae
S. siriae named after Siri Penney
P. penneyi named after me
Ant mimic crab spider
Dominican amber mine entrance
Show More

Feel free to contact me using the form to the left

  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Pinterest Social Icon

© 2017 by David Penney

This is a personal website, the views and opinions on it are independent