D. Steve Dennis obituary
D. Steve Dennis, dipterist, passes away
It is with great sorrow that we record the death of our friend and colleague, D. Steve Dennis,
an exceptional entomologist.
After obtaining a degree in Zoology in 1971 at Colorado State University, Steve journeyed to the
University of Wyoming, where he attained a degree in Entomology studying robber flies. While
working on his PhD thesis, he developed an interest in immature stages of robber flies. His keen
mind combined with great patience enabled him to devote the many hours necessary to study
these fascinating insects.
Upon graduation, he went to work for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency monitoring
pesticides residues in water. Later, he joined an engineering/construction company. Spending
more than thirty years with this company, Steve traveled the world extensively, supporting
environmental, engineering, and construction projects in several countries on six continents.
Throughout his life, Steve maintained a keen interest in the behavior of predatory flies. During
his working years, Steve continued co-publishing on the behaviors of various species of robber
flies. He collaborated with a number of eminent entomologists during his entomological career,
including Lloyd Knutson, J.K. Barnes, and R.J. Lavigne.
Steve published over 50 papers. Of special note, he co-published a paper describing the pupae
of ten species of Wyoming asilids with R.J. Lavigne, a key to robber fly (Diptera: Asilidae)
subfamilies based on pupal cases, and a review and analysis of information on the biology and
morphology of immature stages of robber flies, the latter two with J.K. Barnes and the noted
USDA dipterist, Dr. Lloyd Knutson (deceased).
After retiring from environmental engineering and construction, Steve co-authored with J.K.
Barnes eight further papers on pupal descriptions between 2011 and 2014. His final years were
spent researching robber flies in the Moses Creek Conservation Area near his home in
northeastern Florida, USA. In that environment, he spent many happy hours observing a variety
of robber fly species upon which he published a series of excellent papers describing their
Steve was always generous in his praise of the work of his colleagues and will be greatly missed.
Robert Lavigne & Jeanne Dennis