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The Offical Seal of the ESW

The story of the discovery of Rheumatobates rileyi Bergroth and its subsequent portrayal on the cover of our proceedings is an interesting one.

This small water strider was first mentioned in 1891 by Reverend J. L. Zabriskie (Jour. N. Y. Micro. Soc. 7: 128- 129, 1 fig.) in an article entitled "A curious, unknown, aquatic, hemipterous larva." Then, in 1892, there appeared anonymously (Insect Life 4: 198) a complete description and excellent illustration of this bug, but it remained unnamed. On the basis of this description, Bergroth proposed the name Rheumatobates rileyi, new genus and species without further description (Insect Life 4: 321). All of the above references dealt with apterous forms.

Otto Heidemann, specialist in Hemiptera, with the old Bureau of Entomology, collected the first winged specimens near Glen Echo, Maryland in 1893. Mr. Heidemann, who, in addition to his other talents, was a gifted engraver, made a handsome woodcut of a fully winged male. This figure appeared for the first time on the cover of volume 3, number 1 of our Proceedings (issued March 8, 1894).

The cut appeared continuously through 1920. It is mentioned in Mr. Heidemann's obituary in 1916 (Proc. Ent. Soc. Wash. 18: 202) that the illustration had been adopted as the official seal of our society. However, I am unable to verify this from the minutes of these early meetings.

The seal was dropped from the cover in 1921, presumably because the woodblock needed replacing. Later a photograph of the seal was made and a new illustration appeared on the June 1937 issue and has appeared continuously since then. Because much detail in the original has been lost, I have redrawn the seal, based on specimens from Glen Echo, and had a new cut made. The results can be seen on the cover of this issue.

The seal is widely recognized as a symbol of our society. As an example, one of the late Professor H. B. Hungerford's favorite exam questions was, "Name the society whose official seal is Rheumatobates rileyi?" EDITOR - Jon L. Herring

Official Seal of the ESW
Official Seal of the ESW

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