Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

David Furth

Research Associate
Department / Division
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
Journal Article
  • Mohamedsaid, M. S. and Furth, David George. 2011. "Secondary Sexual Characteristics in the Galerucinae (sensu stricto) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)." ISRN Zoology, 2011 1–60.
  • Furth, David George and Zhaurova, Kira M. 2010. "Two new flea beetle genera: Alasia alpina gen. et sp. nov. from a Costa Rican cloud forest and Pseudostenophyma gen. nov. from Brazil (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Alticinae)." Zootaxa, (2679) 32–50.
  • Savini, V., Escalona, H. E., and Furth, David George. 2008. "Descripción de Chrysomila gen. n. y diez especies nuevas para el neotrópico (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Alticina)." Entomotropica, 23, (1) 1–36.
  • Furth, David George. 2007. "A new genus and species of flea beetle (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Alticinae) from the rainforest canopy in Costa Rica." Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 109, (1) 90–101.
  • Furth, David George. 2006. "The current status of knowledge of the Alticinae of Mexico (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Proceedings of the Sixth International Symposium on the Chrysomelide." Bonner Zoologische Beitrage, 54, (4) 197–225.
  • Furth, David George. 2004. "Fun with Flea Beetles Feces." Chrysomela, 43 10.
  • Savini, V. and Furth, David George. 2004. "TeratologA-a en Coleoptera: un caso en Gioia bicolor (Blake, 1969) (Chrysomelidae, Alticinae) de Jamaica." Entomotropica, 19, (3) 165–167.
  • Savini, V., Furth, David George, and Nino-Maldonado, S. 2001. "Una nueva especie de Gioia (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Alticinae)." Folia Entomologia Mexicana, 40, (1) 11–15.
  • Furth, David George. 2000. "Institutional Sharing of Collections: The Off-Site Enhancement Program." Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections Newsletter, 14, (2) 8–9.
  • Furth, David George and Lee, J. E. 2000. "Comparative Study of Larvae and Adults of Some Species of the Blepharida Chevrolat-group (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Alticinae)." Journal of the New York Entomological Society, 108, (1-2) 26–51.
  • Lee, J. E. and Furth, David George. 2000. "Larval Biology and Morphology of a North American and an Israeli Altica Geoffroy Species (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Alticinae)." The Florida Entomologist, 83, (3) 276–284.
  • Furth, David George. 1998. "Revision of the New World Blepharida (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Alticinae)." Memoirs of the Entomological Society of Washington, 21 1–109.
  • Furth, David George. 1997. "Alticinae of Israel and Adjacent Areas: Smaller Genera (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)." Israel Journal of Entomology, 31 121–146.
  • Savini, V. and Furth, David George. 1997. "Chaetocnema seriata (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Alticinae): A New Combination." The Coleopterists Bulletin, 51, (2) 198.
  • Furth, David George and Savini, V. 1996. "Checklist of the Alticinae of Central America, including Mexico (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)." Insecta Mundi, 10-num-1-4) 45–68.
  • Savini, V. and Furth, David George. 1996. "Nuevas Combinaciones, Designacion de Lectotipo y Redescripciones en Gioia Bechyne (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae, Alticinae)." Boletin de Entomologia Venezolana, 11, (2) 191–199.
  • Furth, David George. 1995. "Pest Control in Entomological Collections." Insect Collection News, 10 5–7.
  • Furth, David George. 1995. "An Asian Odyssey: Six Months of Entomological Experiences." Insect Collection News, 10 13–16.
  • Furth, David George. 1995. "A New Case of Parthenogenesis in Beetles: Longitarsus melanurus Melsheimer (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)." Journal of the New York Entomologist Society, 102, (3) 310–317.
  • Furth, David George. 1994. "The Alticinae. INBIO Field Guide to the Insects of Costa Rica." In: Bio Gopher Server, 000.
  • Furth, David George. 1994. "Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on the Chrysomelidae, Beijing, 1992. [editor]." Universal Book Services, Leiden, 1–150.
  • Furth, David George. 1994. "Frank Morton Carpenter, 1902-1994): Academic Biography and Publications." Psyche, 101, (1) 127–144.
  • Furth, David George, Askevold, I., and Duckett, C. 1994. "Discovery and Designation of Type Specimens of Chrysomelidae from Argentina Described by E. von Harold in 1875 (Coleoptera)." Psyche, 101, (2) 127–144.
  • Furth, David George and Suzuki, K. 1994. "Character Correlation Studies of Problematic Genera of Alticinae in Relation to Galerucinae (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)." Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on the Chrysomelidae, Beijing, 116–135.
  • Hawkeswood, T. J. and Furth, David George. 1994. "New Host Plant Records for some Australian Alticinae (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)." Spixiana, 17, (1) 43–49.
  • Suzuki, K. and Furth, David George. 1994. "Jumping Insects." Insectarium, Tokyo, 31, (2) 40–49.
  • Flowers, R. W., Furth, David George, and Thomas, M. C. 1993. "Notes on the Distribution and Biology of Some Florida Leaf Beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)." The Coleopterists Bulletin, 48, (1) 79–89.
  • Furth, David George. 1993. "Hula Lake Leaf Beetles Revisited." Israel journal of zoology, 27 25–30.
  • Furth, David George. 1992. "The New World Blepharida Group, with a Key to Genera and Description of a New Species (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)." Journal of the New York Entomological Society, 100, (2) 399–414.
  • Furth, David George. 1992. "Recent Activity in the Department of Entomology, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University." Insect Collection News, 7 20–21.
  • Furth, David George. 1992. "The Independent Evolution of the Metafemoral Spring in Coleoptera." Systematic Entomology, 17, (4) 341.
  • Suzuki, K. and Furth, David George. 1992. "What is a Classifcation? A Case Study in Insect Systematics: Potential Confusion Before Order." Zoological Science, 9, (6) 1113–1126.
  • Furth, David George. 1991. "Beetlemania." Wings, 16, (1) 3–12.
  • Furth, David George. 1991. "Obituary: A Tribute to G. Evelyn Hutchinson." Wings, 16, (1) 13.
  • Furth, David George. 1990. "Comparative Morphological Studies of the Tibial Flexor and Extensor Tendons in Insects." Systematic Entomology, 15, (4) 433–441.
  • Furth, David George and Suzuki, K. 1990. "The Metatibial Extensor and Flexor Tendons in Coleoptera." Systematic Entomology, 15, (4) 443–448.
  • Suzuki, K. and Furth, David George. 1990. "What is a Natural Classification? A Case Study in Insect Systematics: Potential Confusion Before Order, Part I." Seibutsu Kagaku (=Biological Sciences), 42, (3) 123–133.
  • Suzuki, K. and Furth, David George. 1990. "What is a Natural Classification? A Case Study in Insect Systematics: Potential Confusion Before Order. Part II." Seibutsu Kagaku (=Biological Sciences), 42, (3) 201–209.
  • Furth, David George and Seeno, T. 1989. "Metafemoral Spring Studies of some Neotropical Genera of Alticinae." In: D.Furth and T.Seeno (Eds.).Proceedings of the Second International Symposium on Chrysomelidae.Entomography, 6 497–510.
  • Furth, David George and Seeno, T. 1989. "Proceedings of the Second International Symposium on Chrysomelidae." Entomology, 6 497–510.
  • Furth, David George and Brivio, C. 1988. "Dissemination of the Second P.I.M.E. Entomological Museum." The Coleopterists Bulletin, 42, (2) 193–201.
  • Furth, David George. 1986. "Alticinae of Israel: Chaetocnema (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)." Isreal Journal of Entomology, 19-num-1985) 67–83.
  • Howard, D. and Furth, David George. 1986. "Review of the Allonemobius fasciatus (Orthoptera: Gryllidae) Complex with the Description of Two New Species, using Electrophoresis, Songs, and Morphometrics." Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 79, (3) 472–481.
  • Furth, David George. 1985. "Some Flea Beetles and their Foodplants from Kenya (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)." The Coleopterists Bulletin, 39, (3) 259–263.
  • Furth, David George. 1985. "The Natural History of a Sumac Tree; with ane Emphasis on the Entomofauna." Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, 46 137–237.
  • Furth, David George. 1985. "Generic Relationships of Palearctic and Nearctic Alticinae." In: Furth, D.and T.Seeno (eds.) Proceedings, First International Symposium on Chrysomelidae.Entomology., 3 375–392.
  • Furth, David George and Seeno, T. 1985. "Proceedings of the First International Symposium on Chrysomelidae." Entomology (Furth, D.and T.Seeno, eds.), 3 371–504.
  • Furth, David George. 1984. "Psylliodes of Israel (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Alticinae)." Israel journal of zoology, 17 37–58.
  • Furth, David George, Ben-Dov, Y., and Gerson, U. 1984. "A New Species of Peliococcus (Homoptera: Pseudococcidae) from the Judean Desert." Israel journal of zoology, 17 105–108.
  • Furth, David George. 1983. "Aquatic Entomofauna of a Dead Sea Oasis." Hydrobiologia, 102 3–25.
  • Furth, David George, Traub, W., and Harpaz, I. 1983. "What Makes Blepharida Jump? A Structural Study of the Metafemoral Spring of a Flea Beetle." The Journal of experimental zoology, 227 43–47.
  • Furth, David George. 1982. "Blepharida Biology, as Demonstrated by the Sacred Sumac Flea Beetle B. sacra (Weise) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Alticinae)." Spixiana, Supplement, 7 43–52.
  • Furth, David George. 1982. "The Metafemoral Spring of Flea Beetles (Chrysomelidae: Alticinae)." Spixiana, Supplement, 7 11–27.
  • Furth, David George. 1981. "Altica of Israel (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Alticinae)." Israel journal of zoology, 14 55–56.
  • Furth, David George. 1980. "Wing Polymorphism, Host Plant Ecology, and Biogeography of Longitarsus in Israel (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)." Isreal Journal of Entomology, 13 125–148.
  • Furth, David George. 1980. "Inter-Generic Differences in the Metafemoral Apodeme of Flea Beetles (Chrysomelidae: Alticinae)." Systematic Entomology, 5 263–271.
  • Furth, David George. 1980. "Zoogeography and Host Plants of Longitarsus in Israel, with Descriptions of Six New Species (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)." Israel journal of zoology, 134 79–124.
  • Furth, David George and Halperin, J. 1980. "Observations of the Phenology and Biogeography of Thaumetopoea jordana (Staudinger) (Lepidoptera: Thaumetopoeidae)." Israel journal of zoology, 13 1–11.
  • Furth, David George. 1979. "Zoogeography and Host Plant Ecology of the Alticinae of Israel, Especially Phyllotreta: with Descriptions of Three New Species (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)." Israel journal of zoology, 28, (1) 1–37.
  • Furth, David George. 1979. "A Fossil Flea Beetle from Lake Huleh (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)." Israel journal of zoology, 12-num-1978) 41–49.
  • Balick, M., Furth, David George, and Cooper-Driver, G. 1978. "Biochemical and Evolutionary Aspects of Arthropod Predation on Ferns." Oecologica (Berlin), 35 55–89.
  • Furth, David George, Albrecht, R., Muraszko, K., and Hutchinson, G. E. 1978. "Scanning Electron Microscope Study of the Palar Pegs of Three Species of Corixidae (Hemiptera: Heteroptera)." Systematic Entomology, 3 147–152.
  • Furth, David George. 1977. "The Huleh and its Lost Aquatic Leaf Beetle." Atala, 4 4–9.
  • Furth, David George. 1975. "Israel, a Great Biogeographic Crossroads." Discovery, 11, (1) 2–13.
  • Furth, David George. 1974. "Stink Bugs of Ohio (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae)." Bulletin of the Ohio Biological Survey New Series, 5, (1) 1–60.

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Book Chapter
  • Furth, David George. 2009. "Flea beetle diversity of the Sierra Tarahumara, Copper Canyon, Mexico (Chrysomelidae: Alticinae)." In Research on Chrysomelidae, Volume 2. Jolivet, P., Schmitt, M., and Santiago-Blay, Jorge A., editors. 131–151. Leiden: Koninklijke Brill.
  • 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. Furth, David George, editor. 1–23. 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. Kugler, J., editor. 170, 201–204. 3
  • Furth, David George. 1983. "Dytiscidae, Gyrinidae and Hydrophilidae." In Plants and Animals of the Land of Israel: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Aquatic Life. 227–279.
  • Furth, David George. 2003. Special topics on leaf beetle biology. Pensoft Publishes.
Book Review
  • Furth, David George. 1985. [Book review] "The Evolution of Insect Mating Systems, by R Thornhill & J. Alcock." Bulletin of the Entomological Society of America, 33, (3), 33–35.