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Portrets of Zoltan Kaszab

Prof. Zoltan Kaszab


  23 September, 1915 - 1986  
  Systematic specialisation: Meloidae, Tenebrionidae, Coleoptera  

Life and activities of Zoltan Kaszab one of the most eminent entomologists of the 20th century continued the traditions of the Hungarian Natural History Museum after Edmund Reitter's collection was included into its fund. In 1950 Zoltan Kaszab was enrolled on the staff of the Museum and in 1955 he became the head of the Coleoptera department. He spent much time and effort on that department up to the end of his life even after he became General Director of the Museum in 1970. The major subject of his study was darkling beetles of Tenebrionidae and blister beetles (Meloidae), although he prepared a large number of publications on many beetle taxa. He pubulished 8 volumes in the series "Fauna of Hungary", namely on the cantharoid families (Malacodermata - 1955), on tenebrionoid families (Heteromera - 1956, 1957, 1979), on bruchids (Bruchidae - 1967), on long-horned beetles (Cerambycidae - 1971), on twisted-winged insects (Strepsiptera 1977, jointly with R. Kinzelbac h), on clown beetles (Histeridae - 1980, jointly with S. Mazur). Apart from that he prepared keys for the identification of several tenebrionid families for the 8th volume of Die Kafer Mitteleuropas (1969), separate papers on systematics, taxonomy and faunal studies of such families as Carabidae, Staphylinidae, Ptiliidae, Eucinetidae, Cryptophagidae, Phalacridae, Zopheridae=Colydiidae, Cerambycidae, Bruchidae, Chrysomelidae, and also papers on different subjects in entomoloty, zoogeography, ecology and biology in general up to several papers on Prjewalski' horse or papers on plant protection, e.g. potato beetle control.

During his life that he devoted to research (his first paper came out in 1937) Z. Kaszab published approximately 10, 000 pages in editions of 25 countries in which he touched upon a large number of different issues and described 3700 new taxa. Although the majority of his publications deal with taxonomy, systematics distribution and evolution of darkling beetles and blister beetless his interest concentrated on darkling beetles in two different regions of equal importance. One of these includes arid zones of the world, particularly arid regions of Eurasia. Another region comprises territories of tropical forests of the Old and New Worlds, mostly in Indo=-Malayan and Pacific Regions. Z. Kaszab published about 100 works on blister beetles in which he touched upon not only problems of taxonomy of many zoogeographic regions, but also problems of systematics and evolution of this family.

Of particular importance in the activities of Z. Kaszab were his studies in Mongolia. Since 1963 till 1968 he conducted 6 expeditions on the study of invertebrates visiting most regions of Mongoalia and collecting half a million specimens of invertebrates becoming the best known insect collector working in Central Asia. In those expeditions Z. Kaszab was the only researcher, others were technical assistants from Mongolia. Each time after his return from the expeditions mounting of specimens and sending to pecialists in different countries was promptly organized. As a result of examining this material 160 specialists on different animal taxa published 480 papers describing 1, 600 new species belonging to different invertebate classes in the series entitled "Ergebnisse der Zoologischen Forschungen von Dr. Z. Kaszab in der Mongolei".

Z. Kaszab paid much attention to the study of Hungarian fauna assisted and inspired many specialists in preparing "The Fauna of Hungary" being the Editor-in-Chief of that series for many years since 1965. Volumes of that series include more than 160 issues and cover 60% of Hungarian fauna from protozoans up to mammals with approximately 30, 000 species. He was also Editor-in-Chief of the series "Natural History of National Parks of Hungary".

Four hundred and thirty five species and 52 other taxa were named after him. He was elected honorary member of the All-Union Entomological Society, Royal Entomological Society of Belgium, Yugoslavian Entomological Society, Czechoslovakian Entomological Society, Polish Entomological Society. He was corresponging member of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris.

Z. Kaszab frequently visite St. Petersburg, where he came mainly to examine collections of the Zoological Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences. However, apart from the work at the Institute, spent long hour for on sight seeing and museums. He was interested in cultural heritage in different areas and that interest was partly professional because he was director-general of a large Hyngarian museum. Z. Kaszab was sincerely interested in studying remains of material culture of the Asian North as well as West European art.

A.G. Kirejtshuk, August 2001

about Zoltan Kaszab:

  • Entomol. Arbeit. aus Museum G. Frey, 1981, B. 29/30, S. 1-73.

Last updated: August 24, 2001