Skip to content
Logotyp för Naturhistoriska riksmuseet
Logotyp för Naturhistoriska riksmuseet

Mattias Forshage

Senior Assistant


Curiosity and fascination are the main driving forces

A passion for exploring the diversity of the animal kingdom is something that many have in childhood, but are forced to set aside later. Becoming a biologist and a researcher is seen by Mattias Forshage as an excellent opportunity to keep cultivating that passion, and to add dimensions to it.

Mattias identifies curiosity as the main driving force, both for himself and for research:

— There are so many remarkable things around us and which it is terribly interesting to take a closer look at. Being a biologist for me represents an attempt to channel the fascination for diversity. Being a researcher is in top of that an opportunity to grapple with the knowledge process, putting one’s observations into a systematic framework and questioning one’s preconceived notions.

History, Wasps, and Type Specimens

Research projects in which Mattias is active mainly concern the history of entomology in Sweden and the diversity of wasps. His research has primarily focused on parasitic wasps, dung beetles, and the overall diversity of insects. In addition, he has participated in projects about, i.e. snails and cnidarians.

However, Mattias is mainly doing collection work, with the full breadth of the museum’s zoological collections with a particular focus on history and nomenclature, helping colleagues and guest researchers to interpret labels and finding and evaluating type specimens. It is about using the museum collections for solving taxonomic problems, but also at the same time understanding the history behind the collections.

— It can be about interpreting old labels and knowing who’s who among those who brought together our collections, who travelled where and when, etc. But such information constantly raises questions of why, of who was actually able to travel where and why, who was connected to what type of institutions and what did that entail, which contributions were at all possible to make under different circumstances for professionals and amateurs, for women and men, etc.

Mattias earned his doctorate in Uppsala in 2009 with a thesis on a group of poorly known parasitic wasps, the family Figitidae. He has had several different functions at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, including as a researcher and as a regular substitute for the Biologist On Call, and now works with the zoological collections, both in a general capacity and with a special responsibility for the cnidarians. He has previously worked at Station Linné on Öland and the Museum of Evolution in Uppsala, and has also been a visiting researcher at several natural history museums around the world.

Beyond his research, Mattias is committed to sharing his knowledge, through teaching as well as being involved in various associations. One of his longstanding engagements is as the chairman of the Entomological Society in Stockholm. He emphasises public education, democracy, social justice, and reciprocity as important principles permeating through these forums.

Contact details

Mattias Forshage

Senior Assistant



Mattias Forshage is involved in the following projects:

Biodiversity, evolution and genomics of Strepsiptera

Male of Stylops ater. Photo: Johannes Bergsten At the beginning of the project, we did not know if there were 5 or 20 different species of

Biodiversity of Hymenoptera

Lectotype of Diadegma velox (Holmgren, 1860). Photo: Hege Vårdal During more than a decade hymenopterists at the department of Zoology have collected