Dr Richard Harrington

Dr Richard Harrington has been interested in insects since the age of 7 when he accidentally caught a butterfly in a crab net and identified it as a large white (Pieris brassicae) from a Brooke Bond tea card he had acquired that morning. He graduated in Zoology and Applied Entomology at Imperial College and then hopped over the fence to the Natural History Museum where he did a PhD on sexual morph production in aphids. The day after his PhD grant finished he started work on aphids at Rothamsted Research, the World’s oldest and greatest agricultural research station, at Harpenden in Hertfordshire and has been there now for 34 years. He heads the Rothamsted Insect Survey (a BBSRC-supported “National Capability”) which runs trap networks providing long-term data on many insects, especially moths and aphids. These data are used in a wide range of fundamental and applied studies and are especially suited to statistical analyses of the impacts of climate change on seasonality, abundance and distribution. In 2008 he paid £20 for an aphid in amber which was advertised on eBay. It turned out to be an undescribed species and was named Mindarus harringtoni Heie. He is proud of having an old fossil named after him.