J. Richard Vockeroth, Ph.D.


Spilomyia longicornis (Syrphidae) photo by Ian Carmichael

Biographic Sketch (See Cumming, J.M., Sinclair, B.J., Brooks, S.E., O’Hara, J.E. and Skevington, J.H. 2011. The history of dipterology at the Canadian National Collection of Insects with special reference to the Manual of Nearctic Diptera. The Canadian Entomologist 143: 539–577.).

Obituary (See Skevington, J.H. and Cumming, J.M. 2013. Richard (Dick) Vockeroth. 2 May 1928 to 16 November 2012. Fly Times 50: 29–30).

Dick was born on May 2, 1928 in Broderick, Saskatchewan. He received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon in 1948 and 1949 respectively, and his D.Phil. on the genera of Scathophagidae from Oxford University in 1954. He joined the Diptera Unit in 1949 initially collecting Diptera for several years throughout northern Canada as part of the Northern Insect Survey. Dick’s knowledge of Diptera was extremely broad and he worked on numerous families, starting with mosquitoes. He became a world expert on several families particularly Mycetophilidae s.l., Dolichopodidae, Syrphidae, Scathophagidae, and Muscidae. He was an avid collector and contributed over 220,000 pinned Diptera to the CNC. Dick authored or coauthored 120 scientific publications, including 12 chapters in the Manual of Nearctic Diptera. Although never taking an official lead position in the Manual project, he painstakingly proof-read drafts of each of the chapters in Volumes 1 and 2, catching and correcting countless errors prior to publication. He has published 173 new Diptera taxa (1 family group name, 42 genus group names, and 130 species group names). Dick was awarded the C.P. Alexander Award in 1997 by the North American Dipterists Society (NADS). This lifetime award, which can only be held by a single dipterist at a time, publicly acknowledges the most important and influential member of NADS. The Award reads, “John Richard Vockeroth is recognized as our most knowledgable dipterist, and for his critical and unique contributions in expanding our knowledge of flies, especially flower flies, educating and encouraging a cadre of world leaders for Systematic Dipterology.” Dick retired in 1991 and continued as an active Honourary Research Associate at the CNC until 2009 when poor health restricted his activities. Dick passed away on 16 November 2012 at the age of 84.

Expertise (major areas of interest highlighted in bold)



This page last updated on 29-Aug-2014
Dr. J.H. Skevington

Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes
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