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Biographical entry Key, Kenneth Hedley Lewis (1911 - 2002)


28 August 1911
Cape Town, South Africa
11 January 2002
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia


Ken Key was an entomologist who was expert on the taxonomy and ecology of Australian grasshoppers and locusts. He was appointed to the CSIR Division of Economic Entomology in the wake of devastating plagues of Australian plague locusts and for over 20 years conducted research to understand and control these pests. Recognising the absence of reliable taxonomic, ecological, soil and climate data he set about gathering such information, including working from historic records. He conducted surveys, observed regional and seasonal variation, and built the Division's collection of Orthoptera into one of the world's most comprehensive. Many of the specimen he collected proved to be new species and he identified five species of economic importance. Key published nearly 100 papers and books including major works on Acrididae, Eumastacidae and Pyrgomorphidae. For nine years Key served on the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature.



Education - BSc, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Education - MSc, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Education - PhD, Imperial College of Science and Technology, London
1936 - ?
Career position - Assistant Research Officer, CSIR Division of Economic Entomology
Life event - Migrated to Australia
Award - DSc, University of London
1959 - 1967
Career position - Curator, CSIRO Division of Entomology
1959 - 2002
Career position - Fellow, Australian Academy of Science
Career position - Founding President, Ecological Society of Australia
Award - DSc, University of Cape Town
1964 - 1970
Career position - Member, Editorial Committee, Australian Journal of Zoology
Career position - Founding Member, Australian Entomological Society
1968 - 1970
Career position - Chief Curator, Australian National Insect Collection, CSIRO Division of Entomology
1973 - 1976
Career position - Member, Interim Council of the Biological Resources Study
1975 - 1978
Career position - Member of Council, Australian Academy of Science
Life event - Retired
1976 - 1994
Career position - Honorary Research Fellow, CSIRO Division of Economic Entomology

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Published resources

Journal Articles

  • Day, M.F.C.; Rentz, D.C.F., 'Kenneth Hedley Lewis Key, 1911-2002', Historical Records of Australian Science, 15 (1) (2004), 65-76. Details
  • Deveson, E. D., 'The Search for a Solution to Australian Locust Outbreaks: how developments in Ecology and Government Responses Influenced Scientific Research', Historical records of Australian science, 22 (2011), 1-31. Details


See also

  • Upton, M. S., A Rich and Diverse Fauna: the history of the Australian National Insect Collection 1926 - 1991 (Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing, 1997), 386 pp. Details

McCarthy, G.J. and Helen Cohn