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:

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Namesort ascending Dates Biography

Gave 411 beetles from Africa to NHM in 1966. (MD 8/17)

ANNANDALE, Thomas Nelson 15 June 1876 – 10 April 1924

Born in Edinburgh. Educated at Rugby School and Balliol College, Oxford, graduating in 1898. In 1899 he joined the Skeat Expedition to the Malay Archipelago, and between 1901 and 1903 he revisited that country on more than one occasion with H.C.Robinson. These were the first of many foreign journeys which took him to Iceland, Palestine, China, Japan, Morocco and elsewhere. From 1902-4 he was a research Fellow in Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh, where he was awarded a D.Sc. in 1905. He went to India in 1904 as Deputy Superintendent of the Indian Museum in Calcutta. In 1907 he was promoted to Superintendent, in 1923 he was made President of the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1923, and in 1924 President of the Zoological Section of the Indian Science Congress. He remained in India until his death, being associated particularly with that country’s Zoological Survey.

Annandale was a man of wide ranging knowledge and ability, the writer of his obituary in Rec.Ind.Museum, XXVII (1), 1925, pp.1-28, noting that 'he worked with remarkable speed and seemed endowed with a special instinct for taxonomic differences, recognising species almost at a glance but systematic work in its narrowest sense he esteemed but little ... it was his ambition to grapple with larger problems'. This ambition led him to write extensively on many subjects from freshwater sponges to Malayan weaponry, from the dynastic genius of Siam to the growth rate of Barnacles, and from limbless skinks to island life in the Faroes. Amongst this large number of books and articles are thirty two publications on insects of which several concern beetles. These included: an Annotated List of the Asiatic Beetles in the Collection of the Indian Museum. Cicindelinae,(19O9, with W. Horn); ‘The life history of an aquatic weevil’, Journ.As.Soc.Bengal, 11, 1906, pp.105-7 (with C.A.Paiva); and ‘The Cicindelid beetles of Barkuda Island’, Rec.Ind.Museum, XXII, 1921, pp.335-7 (with C.Dover).

Although Annandale's own work on beetles was not very great, his influence on the study of Coleoptera in India was considerable. As head of the Museum he gave great help and encouragement to entomologists, and there is hardly a book about Indian insects written in the early part of this century which does not mention his name. Furthermore, he established the Records and Memoirs of the Museum which acted as vehicles for entomological publications. Most importantly, he was responsible for seeing through the establishment of the Zoological Survey of India in 1916, of which he was appointed first Director, and under whose auspices the FBI series was continued.

Smith, A.Z. (1986) records that there are several collections of insects at Oxford, including material from Iceland, the Faroe Islands and the Siamese States (collected with H.C.Robinson) but does not mention Coleoptera. Harvey,J.M.V., Gilbert,P. and Martin,K.S. (1996) record that a MS notebook titled Annandale Coll[ection]: Ruwenzori Coll. Including notes about material collected on the Ruwenzori (Uganda) Expedition 1905-06 and unpublished notes and descriptions of new species, is in the NHM. (MD 7.01)

ANGUS, Robert Bagrie b. 14 August 1944

Educated at Gordonstoun and Oxford University. Has been employed as a lecturer in the Department of Zoology at Royal Holloway College, University of London since 1975. Angus's personal collection is limited but is fairly comprehensive in the water beetles to which he has paid particular attention. Within this group he has specialised in Helophorus F. and his collection includes Siberian and other foreign examples of this genus including some paratypes. Insects collected by him may be found in the British Museum; Hope Department; Zoological Institute, Leningrad; Ottawa and other collections.

            Published his first note 'Hydroporus marginatus (Dufts.) in East Kent' in the EMM., 99, 1964, 240 and some thirty or so further notes and articles have appeared since in this and other magazines. Most of these concentrate on water beetles and many refer to northern, particularly Scottish records. As an undergraduate Angus became interested in methods of swimming in water beetles publishing several notes on this topic. This work led to his undertaking a D.Phil. at Oxford on 'Taxonomic, Genetic and Ecological Studies on Helophorus F.' which was completed in l969. Seven of the nine chapters of this thesis have since appeared in the EMM., Canad. Ent.. Acta Zool. Fenn., and Trans. R. ent. Soc. Lond.. Between October 1969 and July 1970 Angus visited the USSR, and he has published several notes on the Russian fauna. In discussing the beetles brought back from Mongolia by Dr Kaszab's expeditions he took the opportunity to revise the East Palaearctic Helophorus fauna (Acta. Zool. Hung.,16, 1970, 249-290) and to write some notes on the Fennoscandian and Northern Russian species (Notulae ent., 54, 1974, 25-32) His Russian visit also involved the study of fossil beetles, and he has subsequently published several notes about them including an account of two small faunas from the Weichselian deposits at Voorthuizen in the Netherlands (Mededel. Rijks. Geol. Dienst.,1975) and of a rich assemblage from the middle of the last Glaciation from Isleworth  (J. anim. Ecol. 449 1975, 365- 391; with G.R.Coope). Angus's published work includes descriptions of at least eleven species of Helophorus new to science.

Angus is a member of the Freshwater Biological Association and of the Royal Entomological Society of London. (Entry supplied by R.B.Angus).

ANGELL, Gordon Locksley b. 29 July 1927 Born in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire and worked for Cyanamid and later BASF UK Ltd. Interested in Coleoptera, Lepidoptera and Exopterygota.FRES from 1962 (MD 3/03)
ANGAS, George French 1882-1886

Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, and educated at Tavistock Grammar School in Devon. His father, George Fife Angas (1789-1879), a merchant and banker, held severeal important public postsl. George French Angas worked briefly in a counting house in London and then took art lessons. A tour of the Mediterranean in 1841 resulted in his first book of lithographs. In 1843 he sailed to South Australia and immediately joined an exploring expedition to the Murray River and the Coorong. He travelled widely in New Zealand and in 1845 held exhibitions in Adelaide and Sydney. He also visited the Illawarra region before returning to England in 1846. In 1847 he produced two folios of hand-coloured lithographs: South Australia Illustrated and The New Zealanders Illustrated. He also published Savage life and scenes in Australia and New Zealand, which gave an account of his travels. A journey to South Africa in 1848 resulted in a third folio of lithographs, The Kafirs Illustrated.

In 1850 Angas and his wife emigrated to South Australia, where his father had settled two years earlier. He opened a studio in Adelaide. In 1853 he was appointed secretary of the Australian Museum in Sydney, where he acquired a considerable knowledge of conchology. He returned to South Australia in 1860 and was chairman of the district council of Angaston in the Barossa Valley. In 1863 he and his family returned to England and he lived in London for the rest of his life. In his later years his main interest was natural history rather than art and he was an active member of the Zoological Society and the Linnean Society. Presented Coleoptera from South Australia (1861), New Zealand, (1847), Turkey (1849) and South Africa (1848) to the NHM. (MD 8/17)

ANDREWS, William Valentine 11 February 1811 - 1878 Born in Pilton, Somerset. Entered the Coldstream Guards as a private at an early age and eventually rose to the rank of Captain. Subsequently resigned his commission and moved to London, Ontario where he became engaged in the book trade. From thence he moved to the United States and settled in Brooklyn where he spent the last years of his life in the same branch of business. Andrews devoted his leisure time chiefly to the pursuit of entomology. He had ‘a well arranged collection of Coleoptera and Lepidoptera, and a small but well selected library of entomological works’ (Canadian Entomologist, 10, 1878, p.240. Also in Rep.Ent.Soc.Ontario, 10, 1879, pp.35-36). These accounts mention that his collection and library were purchased after his death by Mr John Akhurst of Brooklyn, but Horn,W and Kahle,I (1937) notice that his collection passed via L.R.Reynolds to Fr. J. Psota of Chicago. Andrews' publications mainly concerned Lepidoptera but he did write notes about the Potato Beetle in Sci. Gossip, 11, 1875, pp.161 and 14, 1878, 1-2, pp.118-119, and also published 'Elytra of Dytiscus and Acilius in Psyche, 21 1883, p.126. (Note: there have been and, indeed, still are many important entomologists with the names Andrewes and Andrews. Because their names are frequently mis-spelt, even in obituary notices, I have had great difficulty in sorting them out. I hope that I have interpreted the material correctly and that the three listed were the main coleopterists) (MD 7.01)

Collected 513 Coleoptera in Java acquired by the NHM in 1898 (MD 8/17)

ANDREWES, Herbert Edward 1863-1950

E.B.Britten writing in the EMM., 87, 1951, p.64 noticed that 'in the space of twenty-years beginning at the age of 55 Mr Andrewes achieved a world reputation as an authority on oriental Carabidae. He trained originally in forestry at Nancy and then moved to the Indian Forestry Service in 1885. After a few years, however, he was forced to give this up because of eye trouble and he returned to England to start in business. By this time his interest in beetles was beginning to assert itself and at the suggestion of Sir Guy Marshall he retired early in order to specialise in Carabidae at the NHM. He continued to work in the entomology section there until after the war when his sight finally failed altogether.

Andrewes published his first article: ‘Papers on Oriental Carabidae’ in AMNT, 1919, by which time he had clearly already done a considerable amount of work in compiling a catalogue of oriental carabids. This was followed by more than forty further 'Papers' and 'Notes' in this magazine, and by some seventy or so other articles there and elsewhere. These included catalogues of the Carabidae of the Philippines (1926), Ceylon (1928) and India (1930), the last running to 389 pages; revisions of the oriental species of several genera including Tachys (1925); many papers on Sumatran, Javanese, Samoan and other oriental faunas including that of India; and keys to many of the Indian genera. He also published two volumes in the FBI series on Carabinae(1929) and Harpalinae (1935), and was responsible for the volume on Carabidae in The Generic Names of British Insects series published by the RESL (l939). In preparing the last he designated, selected and fixed the types of many of our genera.

Andrewes presented his extensive collections to the NHM in batches from 1923. Riley,N.D. (1964) noticing that 38,434 specimens were given before the war and a further 35,000 specimens afterwards. Andrewes also gave to the Museum a collection of Coleoptera formed by H. Stevens in Sikkim between 1916 and 1918 amounting to 1,395 specimens. Further collections of Coleoptera including the syntypes of many new species (1915-22) and a collection from India, Burma, New Guinea, Natal, Tennessee, including some syntypes of Jacoby, Horn, and Regimbaurt (1900) (formed with F.W.Andrewes), together with books and bound separata (1945-46) is in the Hope Department (Smith,A.Z. 1986). His main library, however, was presented to the RES. As far as MS material is concerned Harvey, J.M.V., Gilbert, P. and Martin, K.S. (1996) record the existence of 36 cloth files and 2 notebooks consisting of notes on Carabid collections and identifications from private and institutional collections that Andrewes had seen throughout the world, and of a four-volume loose leaf catalogue [Catalogue of Oriental Carabidae] listing collecting localities of material he had seen, in the NHM. They also note the existence of correspondence in the Janson archive. And Smith,A.Z. (1986) records correspondence with Poulton and Notes on Types in the Chevrolat Collection, on Putzey’s Types of Clivina (Hope Collection), and on Types of eastern Carabidae (Hope Collection) at Oxford. Several beetles were named after Andrewes including Agonotrechus andrewesi and Neoblemus andrewesi by Jeannel,1923 and a variety of Calosoma imbricatum Klug. by Breuning, 1928. The genus Andrewesa, named after him by Neotolitzky in 1931, was subsequently synonymised with Bembidium by Andrewes himself.

FRES 1910 until death; Council 1920-22. In 1920 he gave £21 towards the purchase of 41 Queen's Gate. (MD 7.01)

ANDREWES, Henry Leslie d. 1946

Nephew of H.E.Andrewes. His main interests were Lepidoptera and Aculeate Hymenoptera but he also collected beetles. Horn,W. and Kahle,I. (1935-37) notice that part of a collection of Coleoptera he made in India passed to the NHM via H.B.Andrewes and that single specimens were sold by Janson and Sons. Amongst a collection of British Hymenoptera in the Dorset County Museum at Dorchester acquired from Andrewes are two boxes of British Beetles. There is another collection formed by Andrewes in the University of Hull, Department of Zoolooy (information from Roger Key). The beetle Neocollyris andrewesi Horn is named after him. There is a short obituary in Proc.RESL,(C) 13, 1949, p.66 (from information supplied by G.M.Spooner). (MD 7.01)


Member of the African Entomological Research Committe in 1912 when he presented 211 Coleoptera to the NHM. More than 1,000 beetles (some paratypes) he had collected in company with other entomologists in various countries including Jamaica, Africa, Punjab, Sumatra and Fiji were part of the Imperial Bureau of Entomology gifts to the same Museum at various dates between 1920 and  1927. (MD 8/17)