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Arthur Humes - Re: Parasites of Terebellids

James A. Blake jablake at ix.netcom.com
Thu Dec 2 15:58:48 EST 1999

Hello friends,

In seeing this exchange, and documentation about a copepod parasitic in a 
polychaete, I am sadly reminded that Dr. Arthur G. Humes, the master of 
parasitic copepod systematics, passed away in late October at the age of 
83. Dr. Humes was here in Woods Hole and to me was a reminder of the 
long tradition of taxonomic studies in this region.  He was the author of 
more than 250 papers and described over 700 new species of copepods!  
In a career spanning 60 years, that is an average of 11.7 species per 
year!  To put this in perspective, there are some people out there who are 
considered taxonomists that will not describe 11 new species in their 

I first met Dr. Humes in the late 1970's.  At that time he was Professor and 
Director of the Boston University Marine Program in Woods Hole.  He was 
major professor of several graduate students including Nancy Maciolek, 
who did her dissertation on spionid polychaetes.  Other students he guided 
worked on coastal ecology problems and of course, copepods.  He was the 
editor of the Journal of Crustacean Biology for nearly 20 years.  

As part of various benthic surveys conducted over the years, we often 
encountered polychaetes that were infested with copepods.  Arthur was our 
"go to" person for information.  We gradually supplied him with polychaetes 
of various families (paraonids, spionids, lumbrinerids, terebellids, etc.) that 
were obviously parasitized by copepods.  One in particular, I remember 
quite well. It was a large hesionid, Hesiospina vestimentifera, described by 
me from hydrothermal vents on the Galapagos Rift.  The polychaete was 
the largest specimen I had ever seen of this species and was infested with 
30 or more prominent copepods.  That specimen along with Dr. Humes 
entire collection is being transferred to the Smithsonian Institution and will 
be available for future generations to study.  

At a time when we desperately need highly trained taxonomists to deal with 
the growing backlog of biodiversity data, we cannot afford to lose people 
like Dr. Humes.  I feel very privileged to have known him and to have been 
considered a friend.  He will be missed.  

James A. Blake
ENSR Marine & Coastal Center
89 Water Street
Woods Hole, Masschusetts 02543
<jablake at ix.netcom.com>

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