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Museum Honorary in top 10 commemorated scientists in the world

30 September 2020

Queensland Museum Honorary Researcher of insects/invertebrates Geoff Monteith has been hailed as one of the world’s top 10 most commemorated scientists based on the number of species named in their honour.

Dr Monteith, former Senior Curator of Entomology at Queensland Museum joins the ranks alongside celebrated historical figures in science including Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace.

The list was compiled by Stephen Heard, a biologist at the University of New Brunswick (Canada) in his book Charles Darwin's Barnacle and David Bowie's Spider: How Scientific Names Celebrate Adventurers, Heroes, and Even a Few Scoundrels.

At the time of publishing, Dr Monteith had 225 species and 15 genera named after him. Throughout his career, he has been a major force in the collection and survey of rainforest invertebrates, both in Australia and nearby overseas countries since the early 1960s, carrying out collecting surveys in all major rainforest areas in Australia.

Dr Jim Thompson, CEO Queensland Museum Network said this was an extraordinary honour for Dr Monteith.

“Dr Monteith worked as Senior Curator of Entomology at Queensland Museum for 28 years until his retirement in 2006 and has contributed significantly to the taxonomy of Australian insects,” Dr Thompson said.

“In the Wet Tropics Zone of North Queensland alone, he has collected more than 200,000 insects as well as significant numbers of arachnids, myriapods and molluscs.

“Queensland Museum’s entomology collection has hundreds of thousands of specimens collected by Dr Monteith and he has contributed significantly to the taxonomy of Australian insects.”

The species named after Geoff comprise 110 beetles, 51 bugs, 41 arachnids, nine flies, six myriapods, four snails, three cockroaches, three orthopterans, two thrips and one each of several other groups, even an earthworm.

Author Stephen Heard highlighted that Dr Monteith was ‘the only one still active in science’ and he had not had a long time to accumulate species named in his honour, in contrast the number one ranked Charles Darwin has 363 species named in his honour.

“I was a field-oriented biologist at a time when there were many unknown mountains to climb,” Dr Monteith was quoted as saying in the book.

“Every one of those very old tropical mountains in north Queensland had a whole unknown fauna of strange insects and arachnids and when we had almost exhausted those mountains the opportunity came to go to New Caledonia and we found a similarly uncollected bunch of even higher, wet, tropical mountains stretching the 500 kilometres length of that bizarre and isolated island.”

To find out more about Queensland Museum’s Entomology Collection visit www.qm.qld.gov.au

Media enquiries:

media@qm.qld.gov.au
Christine Robertson, Senior Media Officer, 0417 741 710
Kylie Hay, Senior Media Officer, 0434 565 852

Top 10 worldwide scientists with most number of named species in their honour

Charles Darwin, Geologist England
Alfred Russel Wallace, Biologist England
Joseph Dalton Hooker, Botanist, England
William Jackson Hooker, Botanist, England
Alexander von Humboldt, Plymath, Germany
Augusto Weberbauer, Botanist, Germany
Julian Steyermark, Botanist, USA
Cyrus Guernsey Pringle, Botanist, USA
Willy Kuschel, Entomologist, New Zealand
Geoffrey Monteith,Entomologist, Queensland, Australia, Queensland Museum