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Memorial page


Dr. James Stephen Ashe
(1947 - December 27, 2005)




Taxonomic specialization:

Staphylinidae: Aleocharinae


Mourning notice


Fellow Entomologists,


It is with tremendous sorrow that we share with you the passing of Dr. James Stephen Ashe, Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Curator-in-Charge of the Division of Entomology of the University of Kansas Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center. Steve was a warm and generous individual whose sudden departure has left a hole in our hearts. As the world's authority on the systematics of the staphylinid subfamily Aleocharinae his absence imposes a great cloud over our shared science. As head of the Division of Entomology, Steve was the heart and soul of our group and a tireless leader in development of the collections and in systematics. Steve loved life and invested his energies in those things that he treasured the most -- his beetles; the study, promotion, and teaching of systematics and evolution; enjoyment of the outdoors, particularly scuba diving; and most of all, his family. Charles Darwin wrote, "A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life". Steve certainly wasted no time in his all too brief life with us. He is sorely missed.


Services for Steve will be held at 1:30 January 2nd in Lawrence, Kansas.


This is a time of transition for the Snow Entomological Collections not only as a result of the loss of our friend, colleague, and chief curator but also in that the collections are being soon moved to a new facility. In the coming months the collections and research programs of the Division of Entomology will be transferred to a new facility located on Lawrence's West Campus. The new facility will have modernized collection maintenance and growth space, new research and preparation laboratories, improved and expanded staff and student offices/labs, as well as other accomodations for the expansion and improved development of systematic entomology at Kansas.


Owing to this move as well as the necessary time for attending to the loss of Dr. Ashe, a general moratorium on outgoing loans and other research material is being imposed. All materials and specimens are in excellent condition, including the outstanding loans of Dr. Ashe, and are being safely cared for. Further, we request that no incoming material be sent to the Division for the duration of our move as we are temporarily unable to properly attend to it. Once we are settled into our new location we shall send out an announcement with our new address and will resume our regular collection activities. We will simultaneously announce all of these details on our website. We tentatively expect to resume regular collection activity in August 2006. At that time we hope that as many of you as have the opportunity will visit us in our new location.


Thank you to all for your condolences as well as your patience while we work through this challenging phase.


All good things to each of you and your families in the coming New Year.


Sincerely, Michael S. Engel & Zachary H. Falin


Prof. Dr. Michael S. Engel
Division of Entomology
Natural History Museum
1345 Jayhawk Blvd., Dyche Hall
University of Kansas
Lawrence, Kansas 66045-7163

Partial copy of the homepage of Dr. James Stephen Ashe from the site

Faculty in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

James Stephen Ashe - Entomology
Director of Snow Museum of Entomology
Ph.D., University of Alberta
359 Snow Hall
Phone: (785) 864-3030

Area of Interest and Research

Systematic biology is the study of patterns of organismic diversity, the interrelationships of taxa which make up that diversity and the ecological and evolutionary processes that are involved in production of these patterns. Revisionary studies and careful and detailed systematic and phylogenetic analyses are critical to addressing these issues.

Studies of the systematics, phylogenetics, evolution, host relationships and resource use patterns of mushroom inhabiting staphylinid beetles have served as the primary forum for me to examine these and related questions. In addition to revisionary studies, my focus has been on the degree and types of interactions between staphylinid beetles and mushrooms, morphological and life history adaptations associated with this habitat, and how patterns of diversification and evolution have been effected by general features of the mushroom habitat.

My other research directions include: systematics, phylogeny, and evolution of immature aleocharine staphylinids; systematics, evolution, host relationships, and ecology of amblyopinine staphylinid beetles which are found exclusively in the fur of small mammals in South and Central America; and, the systematics and evolution of staphylinids of the intertidal regions of rocky shorelines.

Representative Publications

Ahn, K.J. & J. S. Ashe. 1999. Two new species of Amazonopora Pace 1996 (Coleoptera Staphylinidae Aleocharinae) from Peru anf French Guiana with a discussion of its phylogenetic relationships. Trop. Zool., 12(1) 125-136

Hanley, R. S. and J. S. Ashe. 1998. A new genus and species of aleocharine rove beetle (Coleoptera Staphylinidae Aleocharinae) from the New World. Trop. Zool., 11. 183-191

J. S. Ashe. 1998. Subfamily Aleocharinae. In: Maddison, D. R. & W. P. Maddison: The Tree of Life: A distributed internet resource containing information about phylogeny and biodiversity. Internet address:

Ashe, J. S., R. M. Timm, and M. H. Gallardo.1996.Systematics, distribution, and host specificity of Edrabius Fauvel (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae). Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, 109(4):731-743.

Ashe, J. S.1994.Evolution of aedeagal parameres of aleocharine staphylinids (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae: Aleocharinae). Can. Entomol., 126:475-491.

Ashe, J. S. and A. F. Newton, Jr.1993.Larvae of Trichophya and phylogeny of the tachyporine group of subfamilies (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) with a review, new species and characterization of the Trichophyinae.Syst. Entomol. 18:267-286.

Ashe, J. S. 1987. Egg chamber production, egg protection and clutch size among fungivorous beetles of the genus Emicrota Casey (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) and their evolutionary implications. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society of London 90 (3):255-273.

Ashe, J. S. and Timm, R. M. 1987. Predation by and activity patterns of "parasitic" beetles of the genus Amblyopinus (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae). Journal of Zoology 3 (2):177-182.

Ashe, J. S. 1984. Generic revision of the subtribe Gyrophaenina (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae: Aleocharinae) with a review of described subgenera and major features of evolution. Questiones Entomologicae 20:129-349.