Entomologist Zoologist

Herbert Womersley

Quick Facts

IntroBritish born Australian entomologist
Was Zoologist
From United Kingdom
Type Biology
Birth 10 April 1889, Warrington, Warrington, Cheshire, United Kingdom
Death 14 October 1962
(aged 73 years)
Star signAries
Children: Hugh Brian Spencer WomersleyJohn Spencer Womersley
Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society 


Herbert Womersley (1889–1962) was an entomologist whose works were especially concerned with mites and ticks, silverfish and flies. His research into the diversity of Australian resulted in descriptions of new insect taxa.


Womersley was enlisted for wartime service in two English military sections, during 1915 to 1917 in the Royal Army Medical Corps and the Chemical Corps, Royal Engineers.
After volunteering to join the chemical engineers, Womersley was engaged to transport tanks of poisons toward the frontlines of battle and release phosgene, chlorine and other weaponised gases when the prevailing wind became unfavourable to the enemy.
Womersley was involved in the earliest chemical weapon attacks on German troops during the European conflict, including the first British use at the Battle of Loos.
His later employment in that country included a soap manufacturer and positions at the Entomological and Linnean Society of London. He left England for Australia in 1930 and began his life’s work on insects of the Australasian region. The first position he held was for a division of the CSIRO in Western Australia. His career included the role as resident entomologist and later honorary, and retroactively, Acarologist at the South Australian Museum and honorary positions and president of the Royal Society of South Australia.


Around 200 publications by Womersley gave the results of his work on the taxonmy of several orders of insects, the Acarina (mites and ticks), Apterygota (silverfish) and Diptera (flies), around three quarters of which concerned his eventual speciality, the Acarina.

Herbert Womersley was commemorated in the names of genera and species. The seven genera are Womersia, Womersleyessia, Womersleyia and Womersleyna of Acarina and Womersleya, Womersleyella and Womersleymeria of the Collembola.