Neal Evenhuis

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Neal Evenhuis
Born (1952-04-16) 16 April 1952 (age 65)
Upland, California
Citizenship United States of America
Alma mater California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Known for Zoological nomenclature
Awards Thomas Say Award
Scientific career
Fields Entomology
Institutions Bishop Museum
Author abbrev. (zoology) Evenhuis

Neal Luit Evenhuis (born Kornelus Luit Evenhuis on 16 April 1952;[1] had given name legally changed to Neal in 2013) is an American scientist, the Senior Research Entomologist at the Bishop Museum in Hawaii. Evenhuis has described over 500 species of insects since 1976, and is known both for his research and peculiar binomial names.

Education and career[edit]

Evenhuis was born in Southern California to parents who had immigrated to California from the Netherlands in 1938. In 1974, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Botany and Entomology from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona. In 1976, he started working as a scientific illustrator at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum.[2][3] Two years later, he graduated with a Master's degree in Biology. Within a few years, he embarked on his own research by studying the taxonomy of Pacific flies. In 1988, he received a Ph.D. degree in Entomology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and was soon promoted to full Entomologist. He has since described more than 500 new species of insects and authored more than 350 scientific publications,[3] specializing in the families Bombyliidae and Mythicomyiidae. In 1992, he received the Thomas Say Award for his research by the Entomological Society of America.[3] He is interested in the history of dipterology and nomenclature, and is a former president of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature.[2] Evenhuis also campaigns for teaching school children to discern native species from alien species.[4]

Taxonomy humor[edit]

In the entomological community, Evenhuis is also known for his sense of humor, and binomial names coined by him have attracted attention. After identifying a bombyliid from the genus Phthiria in 1985, he decided to name it Phthiria relativitae as a pun on theory of relativity. In order to ensure publication of the name in a scientific journal and thus its acceptance while avoiding criticism of English-speaking scientists, he had to submit it to a Polish journal.[5] In 2002, he named a genus of extinct mythicomyiids Carmenelectra in honour of the model Carmen Electra's "splendid" body.[6] The same year, he described Pieza kake, Pieza pie and Pieza deresistans, as well as Reissa roni (named after Rice-A-Roni). In 2013, he named a new species of fly from French Polynesia as Campsicnemus popeye for its resemblance with the cartoon character Popeye in having swollen forearms.[7][8]

Frisbee record[edit]

On 12 May 1980, he set a record in flying disc games, which he held for 20 years.[2][3]


  1. ^ "KORNELUS EVENHUIS". Mocavo. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "Evenhuis, Neal Luit". Bishop Museum. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d "WFDF Official Rules of Flying Disc Sports". World Flying Disc Federation. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  4. ^ "Barefoot on Lava Newest Bishop Press Book Release; Hawai‘i Naturalist R. C. L. Perkins Subject of Ten-year Research Project". Bishop Museum. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "Stupid Science Word of the Month". Discover. 26 July 2007. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  6. ^ Leber, Jessica (4 March 2008). "The latest in newly discovered species: You pay for it, you get to name it". University of Columbia. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  7. ^ Neal L. Evenhuis (2013). "The Campsicnemus popeye species group (Diptera: Dolichopodidae) from French Polynesia". Zootaxa. 3694 (3): 271–279. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3694.3.7. 
  8. ^ "New Fly Species Named After Popeye"., Inc. 9 September 2013. Retrieved 18 October 2013. 

External links[edit]

Professional and academic associations
Preceded by
Alessandro Minelli
President of the
International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature

Succeeded by
Jan van Tol