Jehoshua Kugler (1916-2007): Obituary

Published in Israel Journal of Entomology 2007 (Vol 37, pp. 359-364)

(Modified from an article published in this journal (1985) and honoring Prof. Kugler on the occasion of his 70th birthday)

Amnon Freidberg

 

Professor Jehoshua Kugler passed away in Tel Aviv on October 24, 2007. He was born in Chortkov, Galicia (then in Austro-Hungary, now within Ukraine) on February 1, 1916, and grew up in Czernowitz (then in Romania, now in Ukraine). In 1934, shortly after matriculating, he emigrated to what was then Palestine. In the same year, almost without any knowledge of Hebrew, he began studying at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Within four years, and while struggling with the language, he completed his M.Sc. degree in zoology, with botany and geology as minors. Kugler’s M.Sc. thesis, on the Vespiformes of Jerusalem, supervised by Prof. F .S. Bodenheimer, won the prize of the Science Society of Tel Aviv.

In 1939 Kugler also gained his teaching certificate. From 1939 to 1947 he taught biology at the AgriculturalHigh School and from 1947 to 1960 he taught zoology at the “E. Shein” Teachers’ TrainingCollege.

From 1956 to 1960 Kugler worked on a study entitled: “A taxonomic and faunistic study of the tachinid flies of Israel”, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and supervised by Prof. O. Theodor, for which he was awarded his Ph.D. In 1954 he joined the then small faculty of the Department of Zoology at the newly-established TelAvivUniversity, as a lecturer in zoology. In 1962 he was promoted to senior lecturer; in 1969 to associate professor and in 1979 to full professor. His previous broad experience in teaching also contributed to his activities at the university, and between 1956 and 1969 he taught methodology for high school zoology teachers at the university’s Department of Education. The list of courses he taught since becoming a lecturer at the Department of Zoology has probably surpassed that of any other faculty member. It ranged from such general courses as introduction to the invertebrates, general and faunistic entomology and introduction to taxonomy, to more specialized courses such as social insects, Diptera, aquatic insects and many others.

Although he officially retired in 1988, as a professor emeritus, Kugler maintained his office, continuing to teach for a number of years and carrying on his research right to the end.

Kugler started publishing scientific papers rather late in his career. However, the list of entomological topics and groups dealt with by him is astonishingly wide and seldom attempted by scientists nowadays. The greater part of his research work, following his Ph.D. studies, was devoted to the taxonomy and biology of one family of parasitic flies, the Tachinidae. Before Kugler began his studies, the list of locally known species of this group contained some 30 names. Following his studies, published in about a dozen papers, the list increased to around 300 species, revealing the Tachinidae as one of the largest insect families in the Israeli fauna. Fifty new species and nine new genera of Tachinidae were described in the course of this study. After the Tachinidae, the Chironomidae formed the second group of interest for him. One interesting outcome of his chironomid study was the demonstration of an unusually high frequency of Afrotropical elements in the freshwaters of the northern JordanValley in Israel. This reaches 48% in LakeKinneret, and 60% in the Hula Nature Reserve, illustrating Israel’s unique zoogeographic location. Kugler’s own interest in the Diptera was not, however, restricted solely to the above-mentioned families. In 1969 he published a comprehensive list of the Muscidae of Israel, a group of considerable economic and medical importance, and in 1978 he published a monograph on the Rhinophoridae of Israel, a small group of parasitic flies of great scientific interest. Twenty-two species were recorded in the latter paper, making Israel one of the richest countries in rhinophorids. Twelve species and three genera were described as new.

His work on the Tachinidae and other groups placed him among the top figures associated with this field in Israel and elsewhere. This work served as a model to several graduate students who, for over 20 years, under his supervision, surveyed various taxa of insects in Israel, manifestly increasing our taxonomic and faunistic knowledge of them. These taxa comprised caddis-flies (Trichoptera), may-flies (Ephemeroptera), ant-lions and their like (Neuroptera), termites (Isoptera) and several families of flies (Chironomidae, Tephritidae, Syrphidae, and Chloropidae). Many species have been named after him in recognition of his contributions to the taxonomic study of insects.

Other areas covered by Kugler’s research and publications included the biology of parasitic wasps, biology of phytophagous insects that feed on weeds, and biology of social wasps. While still working primarily on the Diptera, he maintained both an interest and fondness for the Hymenoptera, and especially the social Hymenoptera. It was this that seems to have led him around 1980 to “abandon” the Diptera and leave the faunistic and taxonomic study of this group in Israel in my hands. He now turned his attention solely to the taxonomy of the ants of Israel, and this was to become his main occupation in the years that followed. He published seven articles on the subject (including the one in this volume).

One of his greatest achievements, and perhaps the greatest, was the compilation and editing of the weighty volume on insects in the Encyclopedia of the Plant and Animals of the Land of Israel (Kugler, 1989), to which he devoted about a decade of work and of which he himself wrote about half of the entries. This book (together with the other eleven volumes of the “Encyclopedia”) was sold in tens of thousands copies and immediately became the standard textbook for insect faunistic courses at Tel Aviv University, replacing the American and European English textbooks that had been used there until then.

Most of Kugler’s scientific publications were written in English. However, his proficiency in several European languages allowed him to write several publications in German and French. Despite his initial difficulties in mastering the Hebrew language, he subsequently published many articles, reports and encyclopedia items in Hebrew. These latter publications reflect, once again, his orientation towards the education of the general public.

Kugler both enjoyed field work and considered it as an important part of an approach that also incorporates laboratory work, collections, taxonomy and faunistics, in fostering the study of the whole organism. He led many collecting expeditions in Israel and abroad and after his retirement joined excursions in the field led by others. Two major expeditions, in which we both participated, were to the Sinai (1969) and to Africa (1971–2), and these two, especially the latter, significantly affected my own choice of career.

He constantly involved himself in additional activities both within and outside TelAvivUniversity. His interest in higher education drew him, for more than a decade, to chair the committee for graduate studies of the Department of Zoology, during which period he engaged with scores of students and their problems. This led him, in 1973, to chair the faculty committee for M.Sc. studies, a position he held until 1976. In addition, during 1973, he served as deputy dean of the faculty. He also participated and served on other departmental committees, and his voice was always heard when matters of principle arose.

Among his other activities, one can mention his chairing of the Israel Society of Zoology (1970–1972), membership of the Fauna Palaestina Committee of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities (from 1971 until his death), membership of the International Advisory Committee of the journal “Entomologica Germanica” (1974–1984), and director of the “National Collection of Insects” (1984–1988).

Although Kugler devoted most of his time to university work and to entomology, he divided what free time he had among a diversity of interests no less varied than those associated with his work. He was a dedicated reader, in several languages, of which Yiddish was a favorite; he enjoyed poetry as well as prose and was also a keen theatre buff. He was interested in internal and foreign affairs and, based on his broad historical knowledge and perspective, he usually expressed strong opinions concerning political events and developments, both in Israel and abroad. His broad knowledge and wit made him enjoyable company, and this was augmented by his endless capacity for telling jokes appropriate to every situation.

Kugler was a devoted family man who, together with his wife Ida, raised their two children, Rachel and Moshe, and also took care of his mother (until her death at the age of 90, in 1976). Together, Ida and he have four grandchildren and three greatgrandchildren, the youngest born only a few months ago. We mourn Kugler’s death and wish his family members a long and happy life.  

Jehoshua kugler’s scientific publications (in chronological order)

1.      Kugler, J. 1961. Orgya dubia Tausch. and its parasites in Israel. Bulletin of the Research Council of Israel 10B (1–2): 62–72.

2.      Kugler, J. 1963. Tachinidae of Israel, I. General Part. Israel Journal of Zoology 12: 25–34.

3.      Kugler, J. 1966. A list of parasites of Lepidoptera from Israel. Israel Journal of Entomology 1: 75–88.

4.      Kugler, J. 1966. Vorläufige Mitteilung über die Chironomidenfauna des Tiberiassees. Gewässer und Abwässer 41/42: 70–84.

5.      Kugler, J. and Wollberg, Z. 1967. Biology of Agrothereutes tunetanus Haber. (Hym. Ichneumonidae), an ectoparasite of Orgyia dubia Tausch. (Lep. Lymantriidae). Entomophaga 12: 363–379.

6.      Kugler, J. 1967. Diptères tachinaires de Richelieu (Indre-et-Loire). Annales de Parasitologie Humaine et Comparee 42: 443–454.

7.      Kugler, J. 1967. Species of the genus Leucostoma (Tachinidae, Phasiinae) in Israel. Israel Journal of Zoology 15: 173–182.

8.      Kugler, J. 1968. Tachinidae of Israel, III. Description of six new species. Israel Journal of Entomology 3: 59–68.

9.      Kugler, J. and Chen, H. 1968. The distribution of chironomid larvae in Lake Tiberias (Kinneret) and their occurrence in the food of fish of the lake. Israel Journal of Zoology 17: 97–115.

10.  Kugler, J. and Wool, D. 1968. Chironomidae (Diptera) from the Hula Nature Preserve, Israel. Annales Zoologici Fennici 5: 76–83.

11.  Wool, D. and Kugler, J. 1968. Laboratory culture of chironomid species from the Hula Nature Preserve, Israel. Annales Zoologici Fennici 5: 153–154.

12.  Wool, D. and Kugler, J. 1969. Circadian rhythm in chironomid species from the Hula Nature Preserve, Israel. Annales Zoologici Fennici 6: 94–97.

13.  Kugler, J. 1969. Muscidae of Israel. Israel Journal of Entomology 4: 323–337.

14.  Gonen, M. and Kugler, J. 1971. Notes on the biology of Lariophagus distinguendus (Foerster) (Hym. Pteromalidae), as a parasite of Sitophilus oryzae (L.) (Col. Curculionidae). Israel Journal of Entomology 5: 133–140.

15.  Kugler, J. 1971. The developmental stages of Leptochironomus stilifer (Diptera: Chironomidae) and the characters of the genus Leptochironomus. The Canadian Entomologist 103: 341–346.

16.  Kugler, J. 1971. Tachinidae of Israel, IV. Description of ten new species. Israel Journal of Zoology 20: 69–88.

17.  Kugler, J. 1972. Tachinidae of Israel, V. Mesnilomyia and Palmonia, two new genera of Tachinidae (Diptera). Israel Journal of Zoology 21: 103–112.

18.  Gasith, A. and Kugler, J. 1973. Bionomics of the Trichoptera of Lake Tiberias (Kinneret). Israel Journal of Entomology 8: 55–67.

19.  Kugler, J. and Reiss, F. 1973. Die triangularis – Gruppe der Gattung Tanytarsus v.d.W. (Chironomidae, Diptera). Entomologisk Tidskrift 94: 59–82.

20.  Kugler, J. 1974. Tachinidae (Diptera) from Mt.Hermon, with the description of six new species. Israel Journal of Entomology 9: 109–131.

21.  Kugler, J. and Freidberg, A. 1975. A list of the fruit flies (Diptera, Tephritidae) of Israel and nearby areas, their host plants and distribution. Israel Journal of Entomology 10: 51–72.

22.  Gerling, D., Kugler, J. and Lupo, A. 1976. The galls and gall insects of Tamarix spp. In Israel and the Sinai. Bollettino del Laboratorio di Entomologia Agraria 33: 53–79. Ben Mordechai, J. and Kugler, J. 1976. Ecology of ants in the desert loess plain (Sede Zin) of Sede Boqer (Central Negev). Israel Journal of Zoology 25: 216–217.

23.  Kugler, J., Orion, T. and Ishay, J. 1976. The number of ovarioles in the Vespinae (Hymenoptera). Insectes Sociaux 23: 525–533.

24.  Freidberg, A. and Kugler, J. 1977. The type species of Goniurellia Hendel, 1927 (Insecta: Diptera: Tephritidae). Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 33: 208–211.

25.  Kugler, J. and Nitzan, Y. 1977. Biology of Clausicella suturata (Dipt.: Tachinidae), a parasite of Ectomyelois ceratoniae (Lep.: Phycitidae). Entomophaga 22: 93–105.

26.  Kugler, J. 1977. Neue Tachinidae aus Israel (Diptera). Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde 301: 1–14.

27.  Kugler, J. 1978. A revision of the tachinid fly genus Plesina Meigen (Diptera: Tachinidae). Entomologica Germanica 4: 84–96.

28.  Kugler, J. 1978. Chironomidae and Trichoptera. Pp. 369–376. In: C. Serruya, (ed.). LakeKinneret, Monographiae Biologicae 32. W. Junk, The Haag. 501 pp.

29.  Kugler, J. 1978. Leucostoma edentata n. sp. and Dionomelia hennigi n.g. n.sp., two new Leucostomatini (Diptera: Tachinidae: Phasiinae) from Israel. Entomologica Germanica 4: 344–348.

30.  Ben Mordechai, J. and Kugler, J. 1978. The adaption of the food collecting seasons and the occurrence of the nuptial flight of ants to the ecological conditions in the desert loess plain of Sede Boqer (Sde Zin) Intercol, Abstracts 1: 36.

31.  Belinsky, A. and Kugler, J. 1978. Observations on the biology and host preference of Caryedon serratus palaestinicus (Coleoptera, Bruchidae) in Israel. Israel Journal of Entomology 12: 19–34.

32.  Kugler, J. 1978. The Rhinophoridae (Diptera) of Israel. Israel Journal of Entomology 12: 65–106.

33.  Kugler, J., Motro, M. and Ishay, J. 1979. Comb building abilities of Vespa orientalis L queenless workers. Insectes Sociaux 26: 147–153.

34.  Motro, M., Motro, U., Ishay, J. and Kugler, J. 1979. Some social and dietary prerequisites of oocyte development in Vespa orientalis L. workers. Insectes Sociaux 26: 155– 164.

35.  Kugler, J. 1980. New Taxa of Tachinidae (Diptera) with a list of the species from Israel and adjacent territories. Israel Journal of Entomology 13: 27–60.

36.  Kugler, J. 1981. A new species of Cataglyphis Förster (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Israel and Sinai. Israel Journal of Entomology 15: 83–88.

37.  Kugler, J. 1982. Plesina nepalensis (Diptera, Tachinidae), a new species from Nepal. Memoirs of the Entomological Society of Washington 10: 93–96.

38.  Kugler, J. 1983. The males of Cardiocondyla Emery (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), with the description of the winged male of Cardiocondyla wroughtoni Forel. Israel Journal of Entomology 17: 1–22.

39.  Kugler, J. 1987. The Leptanillinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Israel and a description of a new species from India. Israel Journal of Entomology 20: 45–57.

40.  Kugler, J. 1988. The zoogeography of social insects of Israel and Sinai. Pp. 251–275. In: Yom-Tov, Y. and Tchernov, E. (eds.). The zoogeography of Israel. Dr. W. Junk, Dordrecht. 600 pp.

41.  Kugler, J. (editor). 1989. Volume 3: Insects. 446 pp. In: A. Alon (ed.). Plants and animals of the Land of Israel. Ministry of Defence, The publishing house, and The Society for Protection of Nature, Tel Aviv. [in Hebrew]

42.  Freidberg, A. and Kugler, J. 1989. Fauna Palaestina. Insecta IV – Diptera: Tephritidae. IsraelAcademy of Sciences and Humanities, Jerusalem. 212 pp. + 8 plates.

43.  Kugler, J. and Soussan, O. 1992. Redescription and biological observations on Leptothorax flavispinus André (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Israel Journal of Entomology 25–26: 209–213.

44.  Collingwood, C.A. and Kugler, J. 1994. Solenopsis dentata (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): a new species from Israel. Israel Journal of Entomology 28: 119–122.

45.  Kugler, J. and Ionescu, A. 2007. Anochetus bytinskii, a new ant species from Israel (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Israel Journal of Entomology 37: 000–000.