Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

David Furth

SI research associate
Department / Division
Education
Research Interests

Systematics and biology of Leaf Beetles (Chrysomelidae), especially Flea Beetles (Alticinae)

Since the early 1990s I have been working on the Alticinae fauna and diversity of Costa Rica in collaboration with the Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio) and the Arthropods of La Selva (ALAS) Project (see publication list below).  Also in the early 1990s I began constructing a set of keys to the ca. 250 Neotropical genera of Flea Beetles (Alticinae) that will be a revision of Scherer's 1962/1983 treatment – this project is continuing. More recently I have been working on the Alticinae diversity of Mexico (see publication list below), especially using data from various collections as well as from my field work there since the early 1990s.  Within Mexico I have been concentrating for the past 5 years on the Alticinae diversity in the Sierra Tarahumara (Chihuahua) as part of a bio-cultural diversity project from this Museum. I also continue to work on the systematics of the ca.16 genera worldwide which share a similar adult and larval morphology and biology with Blepharida. I am continuing my studies on the metafemoral spring morphology of Alticinae worldwide. I am interested in the Flea Beetle fauna and diversity of Mexico.

I was the Organizer and Proceedings Editor/Co-Editor of 5 International Symposia on the Chrysomelidae (Hamburg, 1984; Vancouver, 1988; Beijing, 1992; Firenze, 1996; Iguacu , 2000) as well as a participant in Bonn (2004) and Durban (2008) - held in conjunction with the International Congresses of Entomology (except 2004). I was President of the Entomological Society of Washington and I am still very active in that Society. I am the Chair of the Youth Incentive Award Program (small grants) of The Coleopterists Society. I am on the Editorial Board of: Elytron (Association of European Coleoptera); Serangga (Malaysia); Entomotropica (Sociedad Venezolana de Entomología), Efflatounia (Egypt), and Belgian Journal of Entomology. I am an active member of more than 14 professional societies.

Previous Positions (selected):

  • NMNH Entomology Collections Manager (1994-2014):
    As Collections Manager of the Department I coordinated the preparation and implementation of two moves between 1998-2002 of our collections and staff offices from several isolated areas of the old Natural History Museum Building (NHB) into four floors of the new East Court Building (ECB) and the renovated 5th floor of the East Wing of the NHB. The ECB has three floors with new cabinets and electric compactors which I helped to design and it is the state-of-the-art facility in the world. The ECB also has a walk-in freezer and other freezers for pest control and tracking of incoming specimen packages as well for cold storage of research specimens. There are new facilities for chemical storage, archives, backlog, sorting center, and a modern stockroom with electric compactors. I have developed a pest control monitoring program using sticky and UV traps and we have more than 10 years of data on a spread sheet that was very useful in planning the "clean" move to our new facilities. I supervise some Smithsonian collections management staff as well as volunteers, interns, and contractors. I serve on several departmental committees (e.g., Collections, Space, Supervisory, Library, etc.) as well as occasionally on museum-wide and institutional committees. I am responsible for approving all specimen transactions, including reviewing and signing the paperwork associated with these.  I was integrally involved in organizing the new Latin American and Caribbean Collections Management Training Program that will continue in 2009 and hopefully beyond.  I have been an active participant at all the meetings of the Entomology Collections Network.
  • Curatorial Associate, Department of Entomology, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University (1989-1993)
  • Collections Manager, Division of Entomology, Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, 1981-1989
  • Postdoctoral Fellow and Entomological Consultant, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1977-1981
  • Lecturer, Department of Biology, Yale University, 1975-1977
  • Museum Assistant, Peabody Museum, Yale University 1974-1975
  • Curator, Department of Zoology, Tel Aviv University, 1972-1974
Publications
Article

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Chapter
  • Furth, David George. 2009. "Flea beetle diversity of the Sierra Tarahumara, Copper Canyon, Mexico (Chrysomelidae: Alticinae)." in Research on Chrysomelidae, Volume 2, edited by Jolivet, P., Schmitt, M., and Santiago-Blay, Jorge A., 131–151. Leiden: Koninklijke Brill.
  • Charles, Elroy. 2003. "Vertical Stratification of Chrysomelid Faunas in Panamá." in Special Topics in Leaf Beetle Biology, edited by Furth, David George., 335. Pensoft Publishers.
  • Furth, David George, Longino, J. T., and Paniagua, M. 2003. "Survey and quantitative assessment of flea beetle diversity in a Costa Rican rainforest (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Alticinae)." in Special Topics in Leaf Beetle Biology, edited by Furth, David George., 1–23. Pensoft Publishers.
  • Furth, David George, Longino, J. T., and Paniagua, M. 2003. "Survey and quantitative assessment of flea beetle diversity in a Costa Rican rainforest (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Alticinae)." in Special Topics in Leaf Beetle Biology, edited by Furth, David George., 1–23. Pensoft Publishers.
  • Pasteels, Jacques M., Termonia, Arnaud, Daloze, Desire, and Windsor, Donald M. 2003. "Distribution of Toxins in Chrysomeline Leaf Beetles: Possible Taxonimic Inferences." in Special Topics in Leaf Beetle Biology. Proceedings of the Fifth Symposium on the Chrysomelidae, edited by Furth, David George., 261–275. Sofia: Pensoft Publishers.
  • Furth, David George and Suzuki, K. 1998. "Studies on Oriental and Australian Alticinae Genera, Based on the Comparative Morphology of the Metafemoral Spring, Genitalia, and Hind Wing Venation." in Proceedings fo the Fourth International Symposium on the Chrysomelidae, 91–124.
  • Furth, David George. 1989. "Gyrinidae and Chrysomelidae." in Plants and Animals of the Land of Israel: An illustrated encyclopedia, edited by Kugler, J., 170, 201–204.
  • Furth, David George. 1983. "Dytiscidae, Gyrinidae and Hydrophilidae." in Plants and Animals of the Land of Israel: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Aquatic Life, 227–279.
Book
  • Furth, David George. 2003. Special topics on leaf beetle biology. Pensoft Publishes.