Browse Entries

Use Trove to find more resources by/about this Biographical entry

  • Trove

Biographical entry Colless, Donald Henry (Don) (1922 - 2012)

24 August 1922
Uralla, New South Wales, Australia
16 February 2012
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Entomologist and Taxonomist


Don Colless was an entomologist who was an expert in the taxonomy and biology of flies (Diptera). In over 130 papers and book chapters he published on 18 families of Diptera, including the descriptions of the families Perissommatidae and Axiniidae, 13 new genera and 120 species. For two decades, Colless was involved in research on mosquitoes and disease transmission in Borneo and New Guinea. He was also interested in theory and philosophy of taxonomy and classification, producing a number of influential critiques of cladistic theory and advocating a phenetic approach to the discovery of taxonomic groups. For 40 years Colless was a taxonomist with the CSIR Division of Economic Entomology (later CSIRO Division of Entomology), being Chief Curator of the Australian National Insect Collection between 1971 and 1977.



Education - BSc, University of Sydney
1942 - 1945
Career position - Served with the Australian Malaria Control Unit and Australian Mobile Entomological Section, Australian Army
Education - BAgSc, University of Sydney
1947 - 1952
Career position - Research officer, CSIR Division of Economic Entomology
1952 - 1960
Career position - Lecturer, Department of Parasitology, University of Malaya, Singapore
Education - PhD, University of Malaya
1960 - 1971
Career position - Taxonomist, Australian National Insect Collection
1963 - 1979
Career position - Member, Editorial Committee, Australian Journal of Zoology
1971 - 1977
Career position - Senior Research Officer, CSIRO Division of Entomology
1971 - 1977
Career position - Chief Curator, Australian National Insect Collection
Life event - Retired
1987 - 2012
Career position - Honorary Fellow, Australian National Insect Collection

Related Corporate Bodies

Published resources

Journal Articles

  • Colless, D. H., 'In Memoriam Willi Hennig', Journal of the Australian Entomological Society, 16 (1) (1977), 6. Details
  • Yeates, David K. and Cranston, Peter S., 'Obituary - Donald Henry Colless 1922 - 2012', Zootaxa, 3680 (1) (2013), 4-14. 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

Rosanne Walker and Helen Cohn