Commemorating the first anniversary of Rudolf J. Kohout's death

The 26th May marks the first anniversary of the death of Rudolf J. Kohout. This outstanding ant taxonomist is known for his significant work on the spiny ant genus Polyrhachis. On this special page, we want to honour and remember Rudy by presenting an obitary and exclusive pictures of spiny ants from his personal collection.

Rudy J. Kohout


Rudolf J. Kohout was born in Checheslovakia where he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts. After emigrating to Australia, he worked for many years at the CSIRO where he was a specialist on scientific illustrations of ants.

He soon developed into a taxonomic expert on the species rich ant genus Polyrhachis commonly known as spiny ants. Rudy continued working on spiny ants even after his retirement when he became an honorary research fellow of the Queensland Museum in Brisbane. Altogether he worked more than two and a half decades on Polyrhachis. During this period, he published more than 40 publications on these ants. Rudy is well known among ant researcher for his thorough revisions where he altogether described more than 250 Polyrhachis species new to science. His work is crucial for the modern understanding of this important and diverse ant genus of the old world tropics. Beside being a prolific taxonomist, Rudy was also a very keen field scientist with own collecting works in many countries: Australia, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Brunei and many more. With the specimens collected in these countries, he built up a large collection of spiny ants, but he also kept his collection growing by exchanging samples with other ant researchers. On the other side, he was always helpful when his colleagues needed some Polyrhachis specimens for their own studies.

Rudy loved being connected with other ant researchers. Those you meet him personally describe him as a great friend and colleague as well as an engaging companion and an endless fund of good stories. With his support to ANeT (International Network for the Study of Asian Ants), he was especially engaged in supporting the next generation of myrmecologists. Therefore, he was awarded 2007 at the 6th ANeT meeting in India with a special award for his extraordinary contribution to myrmecology in Asia. He also supported the start of Asian Myrmecology, the scientific journal of ANeT. For this reason, he published many of his high quality taxonomic publications in the very first issues of this journal which were an important cornerstone for the later success of Asian Myrmecology. He was also honored by Australian colleagues who named a new discovered spiny ant after Rudy: Polyrhachis kohouti Hoffmann 2015.

Rudy passed away after a long illness on 26th May 2016. His family, friends and colleagues still miss him, but they will always keep alive the memory of Rudy.

Photographs from ants of the collection of Rudolf J. Kohout

Here we show some exclusive photographs of Polyrhachis ants from the collection of Rudy. All these photographs show spiny ants from Borneo collected by himself or colleagues. Hans-Peter Katzmann, former photographer and project manager, took these high resolution images 2010 and 2011 in order to support Rudy by his efforts to revise the diverse Polyrhachis fauna of Borneo. Sadly, most of these ants remain undescribed because Rudy was not able to finish some relevant publications before his death in 2016.

Pictures of Rudolf J. Kohout's visits to ANeT meetings

Rudy loved being together with other ant researchers. For this reason, he visited many scientific conferences. He felt especially connected to ANeT (International Network for the Study of Asian Ants) and attended many of the ANeT meetings all over South-East Asia. Here we present some pictures of the ANeT conference visits of Rudy.

Publication list and catalog of described species

Rudy was a really prolific scientist. For this reason, such a website for his memorial would be incomplete without a list of his publications and a catalog of the species he described as new to science. We also present pictures of the Polyrhachis species bearing his name.

Rudy, we still miss you! You left us rich in memories!