Biographical dictionary

The Biographical Dictionary of British Coleopterists is compiled and maintained by Michael Darby. The Dictionary can be accessed below, and see also the additional information provide by Michael:

Michael would be pleased to hear from anyone wishing to make corrections or alterations to the Dictionary, which will be fully acknowledged. Email Michael Darby or write to Michael at 33 Bedwin Street, SALISBURY, Wiltshire, SP1 3UT.

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Namesort descending Dates Biography
BABINGTON, Charles Cardale.C. 23 November 1808-22 July 1895

Born at Ludlow, Shropshire, the son of Joseph Babington (1768-1826), a physician. Educated at Charterhouse and at Cambridge where he obtained B.A.(1830), M.A.(1833) and first became interested in plants, the study of which eventually led him to become Professor of Botany at Cambridge from 1861-1895.

Babington’s work on botany also involved him in entomology, and in 1833 he was a founder member of the Entomological Society. It would appear, however, that it was the extensive field work all over Britain (he also visited Iceland in 1846) which he undertook in connection with the publication of his magnum opus the Botanical Manual, (eight editions in the 19th century alone) that really fired his interest in the Coleoptera in particular. By 1860 the Ent. Ann. listed Coleoptera as his only interest but noted that he had stopped collecting, and was 'happy to give information'. Babington was clearly known to Charles Darwin as is clear from a letter in the latter’s published correspondence to W.D. Fox dated 1 April 1829: ‘I have caught Mr Harbour letting Babington have the first pick of the beettles [sic]..’ It is not surprising, therefore, that he should have been chosen to describe some of the beetle species (Dytiscidae) from the ‘Beagle’ voyage.

Babington was an enthusiastic Committee man. Whilst at Cambridge he became Secretary of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, a position he held for many years, and in 1830 he joined the Linnean Society. Three years later, on the occasion of the first meeting of the British Association at Cambridge, he was appointed Secretary of the natural history section, and from that time until 1871 he was rarely absent from their annual meetings. From 1853-1861 he acted as President of the section. In 1836 he was one of the founder members of the Ray Club, of which he acted as Secretary for fifty five years, and he was on the Council of the Ray Society. In 1840 he was one of the founders of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, and in 1850 he joined the Cambrian Archaeological Association, serving as Chairman of its committee from 1855 to 1885, He was also a member of many other national and local societies.

Babington married Anna Maria the daughter of John Walker on 3 April 1866. There is a portrait of him by William Tizard in St. John's College. The best account is his autobiographical: Memorials, Journal and Botanical Correspondence, Cambridge, 1897; and there are shorter notices in DNB (Supplement), and in Alumni Cantabrigiensis II (1), 1940. Duff (1993), 3, records that Babington ‘was probably the first resident Somerset coleopterist as he came to live in Bath at the age of 14’. (MD 9/01,10/03)

Bacchus, Michael Edward b. 25 September 1930

Born in Ealing and educated at Pinner County school. Worked at the NHM from 1947 until retirement. He now lives in the Lake District. His special interest was in the Scarabaeidae, especially Catoniinae, and he published three articles on this family: 'A revision of the Australian species of the genus Glycyphana Bumeiaterl, Journal Australian Entomological Society, 13, 1974, 111-128; 'A catalogue of the type specimens of the Cetoniiae described by J.G.Arrow with a complete bibliography of his entomological works', Bull.Br.Mus.nat.Hist., 1974, 25-44; and 'A catalogue of the type specimens of the Scarabaeinae and the smaller Lamellicorn families described by J.G.Arrow, ibid., 37, 1978, 97-113.

He was responsible for the first capture of Atheta strandiella Brundin in Britain (on the Shetlands in 1963) and subsequently published, with Peter Hammond, a note about it and other members of the genus in Ent.mon.Mag. , 107, 1971, 153-57. With the same author he also published 'The Coleopterous fauna of exotic herbivorous and carnivorous mammal dung at Windsor', Ent.Gaz,, 23, 1972, 61-65. His other publications include 'Plant and animal collections' in Land, A.B. (ed.) The Expedition Handbook, 1978, 196-200; 'Colooptera' in Berry, R.,J. and Johnston, J.L., The Natural History of  Shetland, 1980, 306-311; and with Waterston, A.R., Owen, J.A., Welch, R.C., and Hammond, P.M., part 4 'Insecta: Colooptera' in Waterston, A.R., 'Present knowledge of the non-marine invertebrate fauna of the Outer Hebrides', Proceedings Royal Society of Edinburgh, 79, 1981, 215-321.

Bacchus does not have a personal collection. Specimens collected by him may be found in the NHM and in other major museums. (MD 1/22)



Various references in Stephens (1828-1831) eg. 1, 56. (MD 9/01)


The NHM purchased beetles from Badgerley on 20 Sept. 1849. (MD 8/17)


Collected Platyrhopalopus badgleyi in Assam which W.W. Fowler named after him. He served as a colonel in the army. (MD 9/01)

BADHAM, Charles David 1806-1857

Published two books which include beetles: The Question concerning the Sensibility, Intelligence and instinctive Actions of Insects, Paris, 1837 and Insect Life, 1845. In the latter he describes himself as ‘Late Radcliffe Travelling Fellow of the University of Oxford, Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London and Member of the Entomological Society of France.’ (MD 9/01)

BAGNALL, Richard Siddoway b. 14 July 1889

Primarily known for his work on minor insect groups and terrestrial invertebrates, but he did publish one or two articles about beetles including: 'Notes on some Coleoptera imported into our northern ports’, Ent.mon.Mag., 42, 1906, 36-38.

Coleoptera and other insects collected by him were donated to the Hancock Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne between 1904-1909. For a biographical note, etc. see L.A. Mound, ‘A review of R.B. Bagnall's Thysanoptera Collections’, Bull.Brit.Mus.nat.Hist. (Ent. Suppl.) 2, 1968, 1-180. (MD 9/01)

BAIKIE, William Balfour 27 August 1825-12 December 1864

Born at Kirkwall, Orkney, the oldest son of Captain John Baikie RN. Educated at the local grammar school and the University of Edinburgh where he obtained his MD. Entered the Royal Navy in 1848 as a surgeon and after serving on various ships in the Mediterranean, became assistant surgeon at the Haslar Hospital, Gosport, from 1851-54. Here he came under the influence of Sir Roderick Murchison who procured for him the post of surgeon and naturalist on the expedition to the River Niger in 1854 which traveled over two hundred and fifty miles further upriver than any previous expedition and about which Baikie published a Narrative of an Exploring Voyage up the River Niger, 1856. Earlier, in 1848, he had published an account of the mammals and birds of the Orkneys.

In April 1855 he commanded a further expedition to the Niger which was disbanded after his ship sank. Baikie carried on alone, however, and bought land at Lukoja where he eventually became the head of a considerable native settlement. In this capacity he was responsible for opening up roads and establishing new markets. He died in Sierra Leone while returning home for a well-earned period of leave.

Baikie’s interest in Coleoptera appears to have commenced while he was at the Haslar hospital. He assisted Arthur Adams with his Manual of Natural History, 1854, and with his 'Systematic List of the Coleoptera found in the vicinity of Alverstoke, South Hants.', Zool, 14-16, 1856-58. He is listed in the Ent.Ann., 1866, 2, as interested in Coleoptera, Myriapoda and Arachnida, and is known to have returned from the first Niger expedition with extensive collections.

To the obituary listed by Gilbert (1977), may be added Illustrated London News, 46, 1865, 88 (with portrait) and RGS Journal, 35, 1865,123. There is also an account of him in the DNB. (MD 9/01)


Hancock & Pettit (1981) notice that C.E. Bailey gave Coleoptera and general British insects (some captured near Carnforth) to the Manchester Museum. This may be the Charles Bailey who published two articles in Memoirs Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society. 'On the decrease of entomologists' (6, 1889, 90) and 'On so called carnivorous plants' (7, 1897, 41). (MD 9/01)


Published a note entitled 'Death Watch’ in Sci. Gossip, (2), 1867, 254-55 (MD 9/01)