William Lucas Distant
|William Lucas Distant|
William Lucas Distant
12 November 1845|
|Died||4 February 1922
|Cause of death||Cancer|
|Spouse(s)||Edith Blanche de Rubain|
Distant was born in Rotherhithe, the son of a whaling captain Alexander Distant. 
A whaling trip with his father in 1867 (he considered 5 August 1867 as the most eventful day in his life) to the Malay Peninsula aroused his interest in natural history, and resulted in the publication of Rhopalocera Malayana (1882–1886), a description of the butterflies of the Malay Peninsula.
Much of Distant's early life was spent working in a London tannery, and whilst thus employed he made two long visits to the Transvaal which resulted firstly in the publication of A Naturalist in the Transvaal (1892). The second visit, of some four years, gave him time to amass a large collection of insects, of which many were described in Insecta Transvaaliensia (1900–1911). In 1890 he married Edith Blanche de Rubain. In 1897 he succeeded James Edmund Harting as editor of The Zoologist. From 1899 to 1920 he was employed by the Natural History Museum, describing many new species found in their collection, and devoting most of his time to the Rhynchota (true bugs).
His other works included Volume I of the Heteroptera and part of Volume I of the Homoptera of the Biologia Centrali-Americanum (1880–1900), and the Hemiptera volumes of The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma(1902–1918).
Distant's collection of 50,000 specimens was purchased by the Natural History Museum in 1920. He died of cancer at Wanstead.
A partial list of works is as follows.
- Rhynchota :The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma
- Insecta transvaaliensia : A contribution to the entomology of South Africa
- A naturalist in the Transvaal
- A monograph of oriental Cicadidae
- Rhopalocera Malayana: A description of the butterflies of the Malay Peninsula online
- Biologia centrali-americana. Insecta. Rhynchota. Hemiptera-Heteroptera
- Biologia centrali-americana
- Rhynchotal notes: Membracidae
- Rhynchota from New Caledonia and the surrounding islands
- A synonymic catalogue of Homoptera
- Homoptera. Fam. Cicadidae
- Scientific results of the second Yarkand mission : based on the collections and notes of the late Ferdinand Stoliczka : Rhynchota
- Rao, BR Subba (1998) History of entomology in India. Institution of Agricultural Technologists, Bangalore.
- "OBITUARY - W. L. Distant". The Entomologist. London : Simpkin, Marshall & Co. 1922. p. 70. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
- Dolling, W. R. 1991. Bibliographies of the works of W. L. Distant and G. W. Kirkaldy. Tymbal, suppl. no. 1: 60 pp.
- NDSU biographical information
- Biologia Centrali-Americana - Insecta, Hemiptera, Heteroptera-Homoptera
- Media related to Rhopalocera Malayana at Wikimedia Commons