Hugh C. Huckett, ESA Fellow (1938)
Dr. Hugh C. Huckett (deceased 22 March 1989), a professor at Cornell University, was elected as Fellow in 1938. He studied insect pests of vegetables but is best known for his taxonomic work on the dipteran families Anthomyiidae and Muscidae, which include many pest species. His 1965 monograph titled, Muscidae of Northern Canada, Alaska, and Greenland, was a result of nearly four decades of taxonomic research. He also made significant contributions to those families in volume II of the Manual of Nearctic Diptera, published in 1987.
Huckett was born in Madagascar on 13July 1890 to missionary parents. After finishing school in England, he joined the Ontario Agricultural College (now University of Guelph, Canada) to study scientific agriculture in 1912. It was here that the staff members introduced Hugh to entomology, which remained his profession and passion for the rest of his life. Huckett, and his brothers Arnold and Oliver, fought in WWI as part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force and suffered severe injury to his hand by a shell fragment. Unfortunately his brothers did not return home from the war. Hugh obtained his B.S. and M.A. degrees from Guelph in 1919 and 1921 respectively and then joined the Ph.D. program at Cornell University. After graduating in 1923, he was appointed as assistant professor at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva. After the end of WWII, Dr. Huckett joined the Long Island Vegetable Research Farm at Riverhead.
Huckett's nearly 90 publications were split fairly evenly between his economic entomology research on pests of vegetable crops in New York State, particularly on Long Island, and his taxonomic research on flies. Between the mid-1920s and 1951, it was clear that although his employment focused on the formulation, application methods, and impact of insecticidal dusts and sprays on various pests such as aphids, cabbage worms, spider mites, cucumber beetles, and Mexican bean beetle, Epilachna varivestis Mulsant, in potato and other vegetable crops, he was a taxonomist at heart, managing to publish over 20 papers on Diptera during that time. By 1951, he was able to devote most of his publication efforts to the Anthomyiidae, which had once been a subfamily of the Muscidae. In pursuit of this passion, Huckett visited many museums in Europe, studying type specimens and collecting new material of his own. His collections in the U.S. were concentrated in New Hampshire and Maine.
In 1995, Richard Vockeroth named the genus Huckettia (Scathophagidae) in Huckett's honor, not only for his extensive contributions to the study of Nearctic Muscidae and Anthomyiidae, but for his pioneering collections of northern European Diptera and their comparison with Nearctic specimens. This genus name celebrates its wide distribution in the northern Nearctic.
Dr. Huckett was married to Grace Watkins, who died in 1964, and did not have any children. In 1983 he moved to Henrietta, New York to live with a niece, Mrs. Meg McCrystal.
(updated February, 2015)