Insect taxa named for the Rev. John H. Keen, early naturalist on the Queen Charlotte Islands and at Metlakatla, British Columbia

Spencer G. Sealy


The Reverend John Henry Keen (1851–1950) spent nearly 20 years serving Anglican missions in British Columbia, at Masset on the Queen Charlotte Islands/Haida Gwaii in the 1890s, and on the adjacent mainland at Metlakatla, during the summer of 1890 and for several years in the early 1900s. Despite leading the busy life of a clergyman, Keen assembled extensive collections of natural history specimens, particularly of insects and mammals. He was spurred on by the likelihood that many specimens would represent species new to science, predictions that were later borne out. Keen initially sent specimens to the Natural History Museum in London, but later sent most of them to Dr. James Fletcher, Dominion Entomologist, in Ottawa, who forwarded many specimens to specialists in the United States and France for identification. Keen was among the first collectors of natural history specimens on the north coast of British Columbia and, in recognition of his contributions, eight insect taxa were named after him, based on the type specimens he collected in this region.

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