Bye-bye from

Unfortunately, the consortium led by Vince Smith (Natural History Museum, London) has decided to give up on further developing and updating the Scratchpads, the content management system that has made running this site possible since 2007. 

As of mid July 2024, this site will become static and can no longer be updated and changed (but all information remains accessible). I knew this change was coming for some time, and have recently not invested much to keep the site up to date (see this blog entry for a bit more detail). Below I have updated the original welcome statement to reflect these changes.

The site was intended as an online repository for taxonomic and phylogenetic information on the Macrostomorpha, a basal group of free-living flatworms, with emphasis on the genus Macrostomum. One problem with these free-living flatworms, is that they are tiny and fragile creatures. They are often only 1mm long and one therefore cannot simultaneously perform DNA sequence analyses and have a complete physical reference specimen (as entire worms, or at least substantial parts of worms, have to be used for DNA and RNA extraction). Detailed photomicrographic documentation of the living worms can serve as an excellent reference of a sequenced specimen. In contrast, the classically deposited reference specimens are serial sections on slides, which are informative for detailed anatomical studies, but neither suitable for genetic analyses, nor useful for species identification in the field. Detailed photomicrographic documentation, appropriately organised, annotated and accessible through the web, will usually be much more informative for the general biologist who encounters these creatures. Such specimens were originally deposited on this website, but more recently we have shifted to Zenodo, a more stable repository where new specimens will likely be made available.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith