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ColSoc is the Coleopterists Society of Britain and Ireland, dedicated to the study of beetles and furthering research, public awareness and conservation of the 4,000 species of beetle found on these islands.

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Coleopterists Society of Britain and Ireland: a short history

 

The formation of an association for coleopterists in Britain and Ireland has had a very long gestation period spanning four decades. Paul Harding organised and hosted the first Coleopterist’s Weekend meeting at Monks Wood from 16th-18th May 1980. One outcome of this meeting was the publication in August 1980 of issue No. 1 of The Coleopterist’s Newsletter, edited by Jon Cooter. The opening remarks in the newsletter are reproduced here:

 

It was most encouraging to see so many people (67 on the nominal role [sic]) attending the ‘Coleopterist’s Weekend’ at Monks Wood Experimental Station (May 16th - 18th). Obviously there is a great interest not only in recording the British beetle fauna, but in like-minded people getting together for an informal meeting.

         

Dr. Mike Morris expressed views in his concluding remarks that an ‘Association of Coleopterists’ be established. While I know of no such moves being made, it is hoped that this Newsletter will serve as a vehicle to keep Coleopterists in touch and, one hopes, will become a medium for exchange of views on entomological but particularly Coleopterological matters.

 

The Coleopterist’s Newsletter continued until November 1991 under the editorship of Jon Cooter. Starting in 1992 the newsletter was replaced by The Coleopterist journal, initially edited by Howard Mendel. The first editorial in issue 1 of volume 1 of The Coleopterist, published in March 1992, included these comments:

 

First of all, a few words in recognition of the small group of people who have produced the Coleopterist’s Newsletter since 1980 - has it really been going for that long! In recent years, Jon Cooter, who founded ‘The Newsletter’ has been editor in overall control, Roy Anderson has been responsible for production and Peter Hodge has worked hard in the background as Hon. Treasurer.

 

Looking to the future, it is likely that the management will be more formally constituted, for financial reasons and to provide opportunities for new blood. One of the options under consideration is the formation of a ‘Coleopterist’s Society’ which would, amongst other things, publish the Coleopterist. The future health and long-term success of the Coleopterist depends on wide involvement and support.

 

Sadly, nothing came of these initial suggestions. Some years later, in about 2000, (the now late) Trevor James and Andrew Duff held several informal discussions about forming a society for British coleopterists, but these efforts also ultimately foundered.

 

On 3rd March 2020, just weeks before the start of the first COVID-19 lockdowns in the United Kingdom and Ireland, Andrew Duff resurrected the idea of forming a beetle society by posting a message on the "beetles-britishisles" Yahoo! newsgroup. This received a favourable response and a group of 19 coleopterists soon formed a steering group, with the aim of planning the next moves. Because of meeting restrictions imposed during the pandemic all discussions were held by e-mail.

 

The steering group decided on a draft constitution and the name Coleopterists Society of Britain and Ireland was chosen by means of a two-stage vote, with the winning name announced to the steering committee on 25th October 2020.

 

Soon after, a formal Management Committee was selected with officers appointed and regular meetings held by Zoom. The committee adopted the constitution and began to prepare for the launch of the society. This included the choice of ColSoc as an informal abbreviation, registration of the web domain www.colsoc.org, several social media accounts including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and the development of this website. 

ColSoc was launched on the 02/02/2022. 

 

Andrew Duff    
February 2022