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Masayo Kato Insect Collection. Part I. Hymenoptera

Catalogue of the Masayo Kato Insect Collection, The University Museum, The University of Tokyo
Part I.  Hymenoptera

Hirohiko Nagase1, Kazushi Harada2, Hayato Ito3, Yasuhiro Ito1 and Masaya Yago1

1) The University Museum, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-0033 Japan

2) Department of Political Science, Faculty of Law, Seikei University, 3-3-1 Kichijoji-Kitamachi, Musashino City, Tokyo, 180-8633 Japan

3) Department of Agriculture, School of Agriculture, Meiji University, 1-1-1 Mita, Tama-ku, Kawasaki City, Kanagawa, 214-8571 Japan


⇒ Image Gallery
Dr. Masayo Kato (1898–1967) was a well-known amateur entomologist who specialized in research on Hemiptera, especially Cicadidae. He was a quite active promoter and popularizer of insect collecting as a hobby in Japan. He made various efforts towards this goal, including issuing many books, such as Bunrui-Genshoku-Nihon-Konchu-Zukan (Three Colour Illustrated Insects of Japan), Shumi-no-Konchu-Saishu (The Hobby of Insect Collecting), and the journal Konchukai (The Entomological World). In addition, he headed Konchu-Shumi-no-Kai (The Insect Lovers’ Association), an organization mainly for amateur entomologists. When he passed away, he left some 50,000 specimens composed of a wide range of insect orders. His collection was, after having been kept by the bereaved family for about 40 years, eventually donated to The University Museum, The University of Tokyo in 2010. This paper is a database prepared for hymenopteran specimens in his collection.

The Hymenoptera is a very species-rich group of insects. Although they include a few well-known insects such as honeybees and large Vespa wasps, the majority of this group did not attract much interest from people. As a result, there have been relatively few professional researchers, few amateurs, and few collections. Dr. Kato’s Hymenoptera collection comprises approximately 1,900 specimens (about 4% of his entire collection), which were collected mostly during the 1920s and 1930s. This collection is highly valuable because very few collections from this period now exist in Japan.

Some of the hymenopteran specimens were apparently sorted and identified by him. However, most of them were unsorted and mixed with other insects and were stored in over 25 boxes. In order to prepare the database, these specimens were picked up and stored into 17 new boxes. Since the quality of equipment for mounting insect specimens (boxes, pins, etc.) was not very good when they were made, some specimens regrettably suffered damage from insect pests, mold, and rusted pins during the long storage.

Of the 1,900 specimens, about 1,400 are from Japan, about 420 are from Taiwan, where Dr. Kato had spent five years (1923–1928) as an assistant to Dr. Tokuichi Shiraki, and about 100 are from The United States of America, presumably obtained through exchange with Dr. Linsley E. Gressit. Dr. Kato’s collection includes few small species, probably because he did not have very special interest in Hymenoptera. However, the larger species are fairly well represented in the collection, and some rare species, such as Agenocimbex esakii, are also contained herein (Shinohara & Nagase, 2014).

⇒ Specimen List

Notes on the database

In preparing the database, the specimen labels provided most of the information, but in a variety of forms. The scientific names were updated. Other information was arranged into more or less standardized expressions as follows:

1) In the “Notes” column, information in the parentheses indicates data from the original labels including the identifications, but excluding the localities, dates, collectors, etc.
2) Collection dates on the attached labels were mostly written in the American manner (month/day/year). However, some were in the Japanese manner (year/month/day). They were all replaced with dates in the European manner (day/month/year) in the database. Some ambiguous dates were marked with a “(?)” after the presumed dates. When a printed or written word was unclear, a “(?)” was added after the word.
3) Collecting localities were translated into current localities and municipalities as much as possible. When an old locality name no longer existed because of a municipal merger, the old name was recorded in the parentheses. When for some reason an older locality name could not be expressed in the current name after a municipal merger, only the new locality name was shown. When a name of a locality smaller than a municipality was changed, the word “Old” was attached at the beginning of the older name.
4) Localities in Taiwan were generally translated into English using the Wade-Giles romanization system. Taipei or Taipei City may include localities belonging to older Taipei Hsien (current Sin-Pei City).
5) Although Japanese and foreign insects were each stored in separate boxes, Taiwanese Symphyta specimens were stored together with Japanese Symphyta specimens for reasons of storage space.
6) In storing specimens, the natural order was used in the families and higher classifications as much as possible. At the subfamily level and below, alphabetical order was generally used. Subgenera were omitted except when they were sometimes used as genera.
7) In the “Sex” column, “w” indicates “worker.”
8) There were several exhibit boxes in which, for example, a Vespa nest and adult wasps were arranged as if alive, etc. These were listed at the end of the database.


We express our deep thanks to Mrs. S. Suzuki, the fifth daughter of Dr. Kato, and Mrs. M. Suzuki, his granddaughter, for their donation of the specimens to The University Museum, The University of Tokyo. Special thanks go to Dr. A. Shinohara and Mr. K. Watanabe for their advice on the scientific names of several wasps. We cordially thank Mr. Y. Yoshida for some of the photographs in this catalogue.


  • Shinohara, A. & Nagase, H., 2014. Occurrence of Agenocimbex esakii in Minato City, central Tokyo, the first distribution record from Honshu, Japan. Japanese Journal of Entomology (NS), 17 (2): 86–87