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J.O. Westwood Medal

J.O. WESTWOOD MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE IN INSECT TAXONOMY
- in partnership with the Natural History Museum
Award CriteriaThe best comprehensive taxonomic work on a group of insects, or, related arthropods (including terrestrial and freshwater hexapods, myriapods, arachnids and their relatives). Typically, this will be a taxonomic revision or monograph.
Award origin
PrizeA specially struck silver gilt medal inscribed with the winners name. Also costs incurred in attending the International Congress of Entomology, European Congress of Entomology, or other major meeting (specified by the Adjudicators) to present his/her work.
EligibilityAny individual whose work meets the criteria and who is living at the time the work is submitted for consideration.
CycleBiennial, entries accepted up to 30th September in the year preceding the awarding year. Awarding years 2012, 2014, 2016 etc.
AdjudicationBy a selection panel consisting of, senior RES Fellows, senior personnel from Entomology Department of the Natural History Museum and acting on the advice of a nominated group of expert international taxonomists.
EntryBy nominating letter, accompanied by two letters of support and three copies of the work, sent to, Westwood Medal, Dept of Entomology, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD, UK, or electronically to westwood@nhm.ac.uk.

 

A NEW AWARD FOR INSECT TAXONOMY  J O WESTWOOD MEDAL
J O Westwood
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Adam Slipinski & Hermes Escalona are awarded the fourth J.O Westwood Medal for excellence in insect taxonomy for their volume

"Australian Longhorn Beetles (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) Volume 1: Introduction and Subfamily Lamiinae"

More details to follow shortly.


 

Dr James S. Miller is awarded the third J.O. Westwood Medal for excellence in insect taxonomy for his
Genetic Revision of the Dioptinae (Lepidoptera: Noctuoidea: Notodontidae)

The Royal Entomological Society and the Terrestrial Invertebrates Division of the Natural History Museum are pleased to announce that the winner of the third J.O. Westwood Medal is Dr James S. Miller for his outstanding monograph on the genera of Dioptinae (Lepidoptera: Notodontidae). The work was published in 2009 in the Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 321 (parts 1+2): 1-1022.

Dr Miller, Research Associate at the American Museum of Natural History, is a specialist of noctuoid moths, in particular the taxonomy, biodiversity, phylogeny, and historical ecology of Neotropical Dioptinae. Dioptines, a derived clade within the family Notodontidae or prominent moths (3,500 species worldwide), are interesting for several reasons. Other notodontids are nocturnal and cryptic, whereas dioptines are diurnal and brightly coloured. Secondly, their caterpillars specialise in feeding on toxic plants, such as nightshades (Solanum) and passionflowers (Passiflora). Other notodontids feed on trees, such as oaks and poplars. The evolutionary origin of the Dioptinae is thus associated with basic changes in the life cycle, from a nocturnal to a diurnal habit, and from feeding on non-toxic trees to feeding on toxic host plants. The group thus mirrors the evolution of butterflies. This magnificent work in two parts (tribes Dioptini and Josiini, respectively) is a blueprint of how such monumental monographs should be presented, detailing a completely revised classification using cladistic analysis of adult morphology. The study is based on 17,000 specimens from 38 worldwide collections, and includes a character matrix of 115 exemplar species, with 305 characters delineated by 938 character states. 456 species are assigned to genera with just 10 treated as incertae sedis. Twelve genera are synonymised and 7 described as new; the remaining 36 genera are redescribed. All the 574 species-group names of previous authors are addressed, with examination of primary type material in most cases, 47 species are synonymised and 31 taken out of synonymy. 64 species in 30 genera are newly described.

Dioptine morphology is presented in remarkable detail, and keys provided to tribes, genera, species-groups and species. Morphology of the head, labial palps, antennae, tympanal organs, wing scales, venation, and genitalia is illustrated using line drawings, photographs and SEMs. Each species is diagnosed, a colour habitus image provided, type material listed and geographical distribution provided.

Dr Miller is currently writing the Notodontidae fascicle for the "Moths of North America" series, and working with a group based at the University of Nevada, Reno on an NSF-funded project Lepidoptera life histories at a cloud forest site in eastern Ecuador.

We are very pleased to announce that Dr Miller will be awarded the J.O. Westwood medal at this year's RES Insect Festival - Evening Lecture Saturday 6 July 2013 - Tempest Anderson Hall, Yorkshire Museum , York.

 

Dr Art Borkent was awarded the second J.O. Westwood Medal for excellence in insect taxonomy for his
The Frog-Biting Midges of the World (Corethrellidae: Diptera)

The Royal Entomological Society and the Entomology Department of the Natural History Museum are pleased to announce that the winner of the second J.O. Westwood Medal is Dr Art Borkent, for his magnificent monograph on The Frog-Biting Midges of the World (Corethrellidae: Diptera). The work was published in 2008 in Zootaxa 1804, 456 pp. (Magnolia Press) and is available online at: http://www.mapress.com/zootaxa/2008/f/z01804p456f.pdf and as a printed version.

Dr Borkent is a research associate with the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, the American Museum of Natural History in New York, U.S.A. and the Instituto de Biodiversidad in Costa Rica. He has been working independently since 1989.

The Introduction to his monograph gives a flavour of how natural history infuses this essentially taxonomic work:

On the evening of March 1, 2004, my wife Annette and I were standing on a boardwalk crossing a shallow swamp at La Selva Biological Station in northeastern Costa Rica. We shone our headlamps over the water and vegetation, observing a variety of insect taxa flying about. Then, with a flick of the hand, I turned on a cassette recorder that broadcast the call of the Barking Tree-frog Hyla gratiosa Le Conte over the surrounding area. Immediately, like newly awakened phantoms, over a hundred female Corethrella Coquillett slowly rose up from their resting places amongst the emergent vegetation and began their flight to the speaker that was imitating their potential host. What awaited them was not a bloodmeal from which to develop their eggs, but a suction trap that would capture them for later study. Amazingly, that evening, in the space of 2 hours, we collected over 1200 specimens representing 12 species of Corethrella.

Art Borkent's study received great praise from the distinguished international panel of assessors:

  1. ... an intellectual pleasure to read. [The author] manages to see the grand in the very small. A true model for the taxonomic/systematic treatment of a taxon.
  2. ... an exemplary taxonomic monograph. No effort has been spared to include all the material possible. This indeed is the whole package of a taxonomic revision...
  3. ... a genuine monograph, with comprehensive coverage of taxonomy, phylogeny and zoogeography, plus a good review of the biology
  4. ... a superb, comprehensive treatment of a comparatively little-known group of fantastic natural history interest. Armed with this summary of the information about habits, distributions, and successful collecting strategies (including serenading the flies with recorded frog songs) the accumulation of even richer knowledge in the future is far more likely. This has the benchmark one wants to see in top notch taxonomy

Art Borkent provides the reader with a compilation of all that is known of the frog-biting midges. Of the 97 extant species recognised, 52 of them are new. The study includes also a study of fossil material. Adult female midges are attracted to the calls of male frogs and feed on their blood. Dr Borkent's study suggests that the association between midges and frogs extends back at least to the early Cretaceous. The monograph provides the reader with a rich source of information on the taxonomy, phylogeny and fascinating biology of these little-known insects.

Dr Art BorkentDr Art Borkent

 

Dr Marianne Horak was awarded the first J.O. Westwood Medal for excellence in insect taxonomy for her
Olethreutine Moths of Australia

The Royal Entomological Society and the Entomology Department of the Natural History Museum are pleased to announce that the winner of the first J.O. Westwood Medal is Dr Marianne Horak, Curator of Lepidoptera at the Australian National Insect Collection in Canberra. She receives the award for her outstanding monograph entitled The Olethreutine Moths of Australia (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), which is volume 10 of the landmark series Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera (CSIRO Publishing). The work benefited from contributions from Dr Furumi Komai. Dr Horak's 522 page opus received plaudits from the distinguished international selection panel:

  1. ... a massive undertaking and meritorious achievement.
  2. A monumental work I would have no hesitation in recommending this work to students as a model of what a contemporary monograph should be: a high level of scholarship is evident throughout the work and the quality of every component of the monograph is absolutely exemplary.
  3. If I were a young lepidopterist, I don't think I could ask for a better platform from which to begin my investigations.

Olethreutinae are a subfamily of the Tortricidae, a family of moths with larvae that include bud and fruit borers and leaf rollers. Olethreutines include species of economic importance, but this monograph celebrates their biodiversity. Although the title suggests that this volume is about Australian representatives of the group, many of the genera extend to Asia and beyond and so, therefore, does the importance of this work. Dr Horak has placed the Australian lineages in a broad geographical context. The work includes a framework phylogeny of the Olethreutinae and discussion of morphology, general biology, and diversity and distribution. A series of genus-level descriptions forms the body of the work, providing a beautifully illustrated coverage of the Australian fauna. Although the focus of the work is on genera, the constituent species are listed and Dr Horak has undertaken a great amount of study at this level.