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Biographical entry Exley, Elizabeth Morris (1927 - 2007)

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


Elizabeth Exley was Associate Professor of Entomology at the University of Queensland until her retirement in 1992. She continued to work at the University in an honorary capacity after retirement, carrying out systematic work on species of native bees (Euryglossines). Exley described and named over 230 new species including Homalictus exleyea. Initially her area of interest was fruit fly larvae which was the subject of her Honours degree and her fellowship at the Imperial College, London. Once back in Queensland Exley changed her focus to the systematics of ants. But following a visit from Professor Charles Michener, a world authority on bees from University of Kansas, she realised how little was known of the native bee fauna of Australia. This was the start of her passion for studying Australian bees and resulted in her being awarded a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) on the topic in 1968. For many years regular field trips were undertaken particularly in northern areas of Australia and the many thousands of bees she collected are lodged in the University of Queensland Insect Collection. In the 1980s her research extended into insect pollination of crops such as lychee, macadamia, pigeon pea and custard apple. These studies and those on bees resulted in many significant publications. Elizabeth Exley was an Honorary Life Member of the Australian Entomological Society.



Education - Bachelor of Science (BSc) completed at the University of Queensland
1948 - 1952
Career position - Demonstrator in Zoology and Entomology at the University of Queensland
c. 1949
Education - Honours in Science (BSc Hon) completed at the University of Queensland
1952 - 1953
Education - Diploma of Imperial College completed, London
1954 - 1955
Career position - Entomologist with the Queensland Department of Agriculture
Education - Master of Science (MSc) completed at the University of Queensland
1958 - 1992
Career position - Tutor through to Associate Professor of Entomology at the University of Queensland
Education - Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) completed at the University of Queensland

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions

Edited Books

  • McKay, Judith ed., Brilliant Careers: Women Collectors and Illustrators in Queensland (Brisbane: Queensland Museum, 1997), 80 pp. Details

Journal Articles

  • Anon, 'Dr Elizabeth M. Exley 1927-2007', News Bulletin of the Entomological Society of Queensland, 35 (7) (2007), 155-6. Details
  • King, Judith, 'Emeritus Professor Elizabeth Morris Exley', Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland, 114 (2008), 34-5. Details
  • King, Judy, 'Emeretus Professor Elizabeth Morris Exley 1927-2007', Queensland Naturalist, 45 (4/6) (2007), 29-31. Details


Annette Alafaci