Paul D. Hurd, Jr. (1921-1982), entomologist, educator, and museum curator, was an authority on the taxonomy and biology of bees. He developed an interest in natural history, especially birds, after his family moved to the Mojave Desert region of California. His first published paper, a report on a bird census in Newport Upper Bay, California, appeared in Audubon Magazine in 1941. In 1940, Hurd enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, to study entomology. His undergraduate work was interrupted between 1942 and 1945 while he served in the United States Navy as a Chief Pharmacist's Mate. He resumed his studies at Berkeley in 1946 and received the B.S. degree in 1947; the M.S. degree in 1948; and his Ph.D. degree in 1950.
Hurd remained at Berkeley to begin his professional career, receiving appointment as Senior Museum Entomologist in 1950. As his career advanced Hurd was given teaching, as well as research responsibilities. By 1965, he had attained the rank of Professor of Entomology and Entomologist in the California Agricultural Experiment Station. Hurd's duties at Berkeley included responsibility for the California Insect Survey where he directed numerous field trips and contributed to the development of the University's collection of native insects. During 1967 and 1968 Hurd took leave of absence from the University to join the National Science Foundation as Associate Program Director in the Division of Biological and Medical Sciences. In 1970, Hurd accepted appointment as Curator in the Department of Entomology, National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). His service at NMNH included a term as Chairman of the Department of Entomology from 1971 to 1976. He was appointed Senior Scientist in 1980.
Hurd's research interests were broad, and he published on several of the families of the order Hymenoptera, including Mutillidae, Pompilidae, Anthophoridae, Megachilidae, and Halictidae. He also published papers on certain families of the orders Coleoptera and Diptera. However, most of his research was devoted to the bees of the superfamily Apoidea. Hurd published over twenty papers and books on the carpenter bees (Xylocopinae) including A Classification of the Large Carpenter Bees, co-authored with Jesus S. Moure. Another major research interest was the pollination of plants by insects. He conducted extensive studies on the bee pollinators of the squashes, gourds, and other plants of the genus Cucurbita. He also studied the pollination of the creosote bush (Larrea tridentata). Hurd's research at the National Museum of Natural History was highlighted by his duties as co-editor of the revised Catalog of Hymenoptera in America North of Mexico published in 1979. While most of Hurd's field work was concentrated in California and the southwestern United States, he also conducted studies in Alaska, Mexico, South America, and Central America.
Hurd was active within the entomological profession, and he served several organizations in an appointed or elected capacity. For several years he was editor of the Pan-Pacific Entomologist, journal of the Pacific Coast Entomological Society. As a member of the Entomological Society of America, Hurd worked on the Governing Board and served as Chairman of the Advisory Committee for Systematics Resources in Entomology. He was also President of the Association for Tropical Biology, 1969-1970; Section Editor (Hymenoptera) for Biological Abstracts; and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the California Academy of Sciences.
For additional biographical information on Hurd see Karl V. Krombein and E. Gorton Linsley, "Paul David Hurd, Jr., 1921-1982," Pan-Pacific Entomologist, October 1982, vol. 58, no. 4, pp. 262-277.