Cheryl B. Barr

Research Associate/Collection Manager Emeritus

c_barr1170 Valley Life Sciences Building #4780
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-3112
(510) 643-0804


As an undergraduate, I majored in Zoology with a heavy emphasis on field courses, followed by an M.S. in Entomology from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. My Graduate Research Assistantship was with Dr. Joan Chapin, who was in charge of the Louisiana State University Insect Collection, laying the foundation for a career in collection management and research on aquatic dryopoid beetles. After obtaining my graduate degree, I was fortunate to be hired there as an assistant curator/collection manager, where I happily worked for the next eight and a half years.

I came to California in 1989 and indulged in contract work and collecting trips for a few years before accepting a position at the California Dept. of Food and Agriculture. When the Essig Museum of Entomology advertised a Museum Scientist position in the spring of 1994, I knew that this was perfect or me; but how to convince them? The series of lucky breaks which led to my being hired is history now. You never know!

Research Interests

I have studied the classification, biogeography and habitat preferences of riffle beetles (aquatic Byrrhoidea) for about 25 years and have published nine scientific papers on aquatic insects. I’ve discovered and described several new taxa and unknown larval-adult associations, the more interesting and exciting of which are subterranean, aquifer-dwellers. Most noteworthy is a new genus and species that is the first known member of the family Dryopidae reported from subterranean waters. Future objectives include publishing a manuscript describing a new genus of Elmidae from the Pacific Northwest, describing a newly-discovered subterranean elmid, and continuing a survey of the California fauna, particularly in poorly-investigated microhabitats and isolated habitats such as desert springs.


I am also keenly interested in aquatic conservation, water quality and endangered species issues, and have served as the PI for target-organism survey projects for the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the USDA Forest Service. For years I have provided identifications of aquatic dryopoid beetles for various state environmental quality surveys and academic research projects, as well as the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program, and continue to do so as time permits.

Selected Publications

C. B. Barr. 2011. Bryelmis Barr (Coleoptera: Elmidae: Elminae), a New Genus of Riffle Beetle with Three New Species from the Pacific Northwest, U.S.A. The Coleopterists Bulletin, 65(3):197-212.
Bowles, D. E., C. B. Barr and R. Stanford. 2003. Habitat and phenology of the endangered riffle beetle Heterelmis comalensis and a coexistig species, Microcylloepus pusillus, (Coleoptera: Elmidae) at Comal Springs, Texas, USA. Arch. Hydrobiol. 156(3):361-383.
Collinge, S. K., M. Holyoak, C. B. Barr, and J. T. Marty. 2001. Riparian habitat fragmentation and population persistence of the threatened valley elderberry longhorn beetle in central California. Biol. Conserv. 100:103-113.
Spangler, P. J. and C. B. Barr 1995. A new genus and species of stygobiontic dytiscid beetle, Comaldessus stygius (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae: Bidessini) from Comal Springs, Texas. Insecta Mundi 9(3-4):301-308.
Barr, C. B. and P. J. Spangler. 1994. Two new synonymies: Alabameubria, Brown, a junior synonym of Dicranopselaphus and Alabameubria starki, a junior synonym of Dicranopselaphus variegatus (Coleoptera: Psephenidae). Entomol. News 105(4):299-302.
Barr, C. B. and P. J. Spangler. 1992. A new genus and species of stygobiontic dryopid beetle, Stygoparnus comalensis (Coleoptera: Dryopidae), from Comal Springs, Texas. Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash.105(1):40-54.
Schmude, K. L., C. B. Barr and H. P. Brown. 1992. Stenelmis lignicola and Stenelmis xylonastis, two new North American species of wood-inhabiting riffle beetles (Coleoptera: Elmidae). Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash. 94(4):580-594.
Shepard, W. D. and C. B. Barr. 1991. Description of the larva of Atractelmis (Coleoptera: Elmidae) and new information on the morphology, distribution, and habitat of Atractelmis wawona Chandler. Pan-Pacif. Entomol. 67(3):195-199.
Morse, J. C. and C. B. Barr. 1990. The unusual caddisfly (Trichoptera) fauna of Schoolhouse Springs, Louisiana, with description of a new species of Diplectrona (Hydropsychidae). Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash. 92(1):58-65.
Barr, C. B. and J. B. Chapin. 1988. The aquatic Dryopoidea of Louisiana (Coleoptera: Psephenidae, Dryopidae, Elmidae). Tulane Studies in Zoology and Botany 26(2):89-164.
Barr, C. B. 1984. Dubiraphia harleyi, a new species of riffle beetle from Louisiana (Coleoptera: Dryopoidea: Elmidae). J. Kans. Entomol. Soc. 57(2):336-339.