Donald J. Borror, ESA Fellow (1943)

Dr. Donald J. Borror (deceased 28 April 1988), a professor at The Ohio State University, was elected as Fellow in 1943. He was an expert on Odonata and bioacoustics, particularly of songbirds. He was also the lead author of an insect textbook and a field guide, both still widely used today.

Borror was born on 24 August 1907 in Shepard, Ohio, just east of Columbus. His family lived in various small towns around the state, but moved to the capital in 1921. At the age of 17, Borror entered Otterbein College (now Otterbein University), and graduated magna cum laude in 1928 with a B.S. in biology and education. He continued his education at OSU researching the systematics of Odonata, and received his M.S. in 1930 and Ph.D. in 1935 in the Department of Zoology and Entomology (now the Department of Entomology). Borror continued as an instructor at OSU, continuing up the ranks of assistant professor in 1946, associate professor in 1948, and full professor in 1959. Between 1944 and 1945, Borror also served as a lieutenant in the Naval Reserves examining malaria and epidemic controls. After retiring in 1977, Borror continued to record animal sounds in the field.

Borror is well known in entomology for his textbook, An Introduction to the Study of Insects, first published in 1954 with D. M. DeLong and later with C. A. Triplehorn, and his field guide, A Field Guide to the Insects of America North of Mexico, first published in 1970 with R. E. White. Borror also wrote many articles in the field of ornithology and published over 50 papers on avian communication, including the first sonogram of a bird song. He marketed his recordings for both avid birders and the general public, helping increase awareness of conservation issues. A large public collection of over 34,000 animal recordings remains in the OSU Museum of Biological Diversity in a facility that was designated the Borror Laboratory of Bioacoustics in 1977.

Borror joined ESA as a new graduate student in 1928. He served the society in a variety of ways, including as assistant managing editor of the Annals of the Entomological Society of America, member of the Committee on Entomological Nomenclature, and the Committee on Education. He was the first recipient of the ESA North Central Branch’s Award of Merit in 1974. Borror was also an active member of other societies, including the Society of Systematic Zoology, the National Audubon Society, and a variety of ornithological societies. He became a fellow of the American Ornithologist’s Union and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and served as the executive vice-president of the zoology section.

(updated August, 2011)