History of AB Lepidopterists

Frederic Hova Wolley DodFrederic Hova Wolley Dod was the first resident Alberta Lepidopterist that we know about, and the first great compiler of an AB checklist. He emigrated from England in 1893, and lived near Fish Creek, just southwest of Calgary. He brought his collection of 3000-4000 UK Lepidoptera and a keen interest in studying the AB fauna. He was independently wealthy; and even hired a personal entomological assistant, W.H.T. Tams, in 1912. Dod collected primarily around his home, and managed to collect 60 undescribed species of Lepidoptera in the area. He compiled the first list of AB Lepidoptera, his “Preliminary List of Macrolepidoptera of Alberta, N.W.T.” as a series of articles in The Canadian Entomologist, from 1901 to 1906. It listed 613 species, covering the macrolepidoptera and larger microlepidoptera. In 1917, Dod joined the army; he died in Macedonia in 1919. Tams returned to Britain in 1917, and eventually went on to become curator of Lepidoptera at the British Museum. Several species of Lepidoptera are named after F.H. Wolley Dod.

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Bowman-photoKenneth Bowman was the second great compiler of AB Lepidoptera records. He came to Alberta in 1904, from England. Initially he farmed near Blackfalds, but then became an accountant and moved to Edmonton in 1906. He began collecting near Blackfalds in 1904, and collected extensively for next 50 years. He had a regular circuit of companies he visited to do their accounting; this brought him to Crowsnest Pass, Nordegg, and Jasper every year where he collected. In 1919 he published an update to Dod’s checklist, and made further updates over the next 25 years. In 1951 he published a comprehensive checklist, listing 1654 species, including many previously neglected microlepidoptera. It was one of the most comprehensive lists of its time, for any region in North America. He deposited a huge voucher collection with the Strickland Museum at University of Alberta, before he died in 1955. Several species of Lepidoptera are named after Kenneth Bowman.

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old_light_trapMoth collecting in the ‘good old days’: a kerosene lamp moth trap, probably from the 1930s. Photo from the AAFC archives, Lethbridge, AB (thanks to Dr. D.L. Johnson).

 


cutworm_cageEarly Lepidoptera research in Alberta: assembling a cutworm rearing cage on the Alberta prairie, 1931. Photo from the AAFC archives, Lethbridge, AB (thanks to Dr. D.L. Johnson).

 

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