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The species of Tortoise beetle, Spaethaspis lloydi (Chrysomelidae, Cassidinae), was described in 1952 by Walter Douglas Hincks (former Keeper of Entomology at the Manchester Museum). Hincks started studying insects as a hobby and developed a special interest in beetles (Coleoptera) and fairflies (Mymaridae). In 1947, he accepted the full time post of Assistant Keeper and in 1957 his title changed to Keeper of Entomology. Here, at the Manchester Museum, he started rearranging the entomology collection and expanding the library with the idea of transforming the department into one of the best entomological reference collections and study centres in the North of England. He was also a very active member of multiple societies, including the Royal Entomological Society, the Lancashire and Cheshire Fauna Committee and the Manchester Microscopical Society. Hincks was one of England’s greatest entomologists, and his work continued as a Keeper of Entomology until his sudden death in 1961.


W. D. Hincks – Keeper of Entomology, Manchester Museum 1947 – 1961 (archive of the Manchester Museum).

On behalf of the Museum, Hincks acquired many insect collections including Dr. Frank Spaeth’s Tortoise Beetle Collection. Spaeth (1863 -1946) was the main authority on Cassidinae (tortoise beetles) at that time. His first paper on the group was published in 1898 and a total of 141 taxonomic papers were published during the course of 45 years of research. Spaeth built up a private collection by purchasing material from other collections/colelctors and maintaining voucher specimens which he was able to keep after identifying them for other museums and institutions (letters allowing him to keep type specimens are in his archive at the Manchester Museum). The collection was housed in Spaeth’s flat in Vienna (Austria) in 80 large cabinet drawers, but during World War II the collection was condensed into 40 drawers and was kept safe in the basement of the Natural History Museum in Vienna. Spaeth’s collection survived the war, but the first copy of a new manuscript on the Cassidinae beetles was destroyed by bombing in Vienna while actually on the printing press.


Dr. Frank Spaeth in his study in Vienna, late 1930s (archive of the Manchester Museum).

In 1950, Hincks acquired and moved Dr. Frank Spaeth’s Cassidinae Collection, containing 23,094 specimens of nearly 2,211 species and 3,000 type specimens, from Vienna to Manchester. The 40 drawers were packed and transported by a British war-plane to London and then by train to Manchester; they reached the museum without damage. Spaeth’s manuscripts, unfinished works and other archival materials were sent by railway. Spaeth’s Cassidinae collection would have not been possible to acquire without the generosity and the support of the businessman and benefactor Robert W. Lloyd (1868-1958).


Drawers and specimens – Spaeth’s Cassidinae Collection. Manchester Museum.


Specimens of tortoise beetles from Spaeth’s Cassidinae collection, Manchester Museum.

Hincks later continued Spaeth’s work from his remaining papers now at the Manchester Museum. The specimen of Spaethaspis lloydi was originally placed by Spaeth under an invalid generic name. After a comprehensive revision, Hincks published a systematic review of the group, including the description of several new species of tortoise beetles. The new genus Spaethaspis was named in honour of Dr. Spaeth and the name lloydi was chosen by Hincks to acknowledge R.W. Lloyd’s part in the story of this collection. The Museum has also benefited from Lloyd’s donations of many other entomological materials (complete account of his legacy here) and human-related artefacts (e.g., a collection of Japanese armour).


The type specimen, labels and original drawing of  Spaethaspis lloydi (Chrysomelidae, Cassidinae) used by Walter Douglas Hincks for the species description in 1952.

The species Spaethaspis lloydi was described in 1952 from a single specimen collected in Ecuador, and its description was published in the Proceedings of the Entomological Society of London (No. 103, Vol 10). There are only two described species in this genus, both from South America.

More than 250 tortoise beetles have been described from specimens deposited in the Manchester Museum’s Cassidinae collection, which also contains more than 70% of the known species of this group of beetles in the world fauna. Some ten years ago, the Cassidinae collection, including both Spaeth’s and Hinck’s collections, were recurated and documented by a work placement student, Danielle Higham, who also published a description of the collection (see here).


Cook, L. 2019. Beetles, butterflies and bibliophilia: the entomological legacy of Robert Wylie Lloyd. Entomologist’s Monthly Magazine 155: 3-14

Cook, L. & D. Logunov. 2017. The Manchester Entomological Society (1902–1991), its story and historical context. Russian Entomol. J. 26(4): 365-388

Hincks, W. D. 1952. The genera of the Cassidinae (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of London 103(10): 327-358

Higham, D. 2012. The Manchester Museum’s Cassidinae Collection (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Cassidinae). Genus, Vol. 23(3): 341-361

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