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Anna L'vovna



April 11, 1940 - January 12, 1987


Taxonomic Specialization:



In summer 1999 I was asked by Ales Smetana (Ottawa, Canada) to find some biographical data about Anna Lvovna Tikhomirova, the well-known Russian specialist on Staphylinidae beetles. I found nothing published about A.L. Tikhomirova, but I approached A.P. Rasnitsyn and forwarded the request of A. Smetana to him. A.P. Rasnitsyn kindly agreed to write such biographic essay about Anna Lvovna and soon sent it to me. Being very slightly shortened, the translation of this essay is posting here below (for initial full-length essay by A.P. Rasnitsyn, please, switch to Russian version).

A.L. Tikhomirova's collection of Staphylinidae is kept now at the Zoological Museum of Moscow University. Some type material is also stored in the collections of Zoological Institute in St. Petersburg.

A.Yu. Solodovnikov, April 2000.


Anna Tikhomirova was born in April 12, 1940. Her parents were an artist, Lev Richardovich Myulgaupt, and a school teacher, Tamara Vasil'evna Sheveleva. The family lived in Krasnogorsk, a small city about 10 km West of Moscow. Being a kid, Anya already was keen on natural history. She early joined the club of young biologists at the Moscow zoo, the well-known informal establishment for children and teenagers interested in nature and biology. (This unique organization, with long history and rich traditions is about 75 years old now. Many widely known Russian biologists started their carrier being students of this club). In addition to class hours, these young biologists spent considerable time in the field. Along with numerous weekend excursions to the natural sites at the neighborhood, the real long-term field expeditions to the remote areas of Russia were organized for young naturalists in summer time. That time Anya chose insects as an object of her interest. Enthusiasm, patience and invention were very characteristic for that girl-naturalist.

A.L. Tikhomirova graduated from the biological faculty of Moscow State University. At the university she was a student of the department of entomology, where she did start to study Staphylinidae beetles. Later, she was a postgraduate student at the laboratory of soil zoology (headed by M.S. Gilarov) of Moscow institute of evolutionary morphology and ecology of animals (now Institute of the problems of ecology and evolution, Moscow). Her Candidate of Biology (equivalent to Ph. D.) dissertation on the morphological features and phylogenesis of Staphylinidae was estimated by the dissertation committee as extraordinary, deserving the degree of Doctor of Science, the highest scientific degree in Russia. It was just Tikhomirova's modesty to refuse from the honor to be a Doctor of Science and to insist on the ordinary Ph.D. degree. Later, in 1973, this dissertation was published as a monograph "Morfoekologicheskie osobennosti i filogenez stafilinid" [Morphological and ecological features of staphylinid-beetles and their phylogenesis], which brought to the author a world wide reputation.

After the postgraduate study A.L. Tikhomirova continued to work at the laboratory of M.S. Gilarov. Being a hard working researcher, she was at the same time very cheerful and communicable colleague. Along with personal projects she had to identify and check a lot of Staphylinidae material, collected by local specialists in the various regions of the former USSR. Having a considerable pedagogical talent, she trained many young staphylinologists, who worked in many cities of Russia.

In sixties, being married by Alexandr Rasnitsyn, A.L. Tikhomirova helped him to prepare a paper on the relations of the processes of morphogenesis and growth in the evolution of insect ontogeny (Entomologicheskoe Obozrenie. 1965, 44: 467-485). This was the point, when Anna concerned with these problems and turned to her own experimental work in this filed. She worked enthusiastically, in close cooperation with her husband. As a result, she compelled the thesis for the degree of Doctor of Science, which she did not defend due to the disease and untimely death on January 12, 1987. In 1991 the thesis was published as a monograph "Perestroyka ontogenesa kak mekhanizm evolutsii nasekomykh" [Ontogeny transformation as a mechanism of the insect evolution].

A really volcanic scientific activity of A.L. Tikhomirova was not restricted to staphylinid-beetles and insect morphogenesis. Noteworthy, that her interests were closely connected with her private life. Her second husband was Sergei Tikhomirov, a talented acarologists (they knew each other since the times of the club of young biologists at the Moscow zoo). Sergei Tikhomirov was encouraging Anna during her hard work on the Ph.D. project. At the same time Anna helped Sergei to prepare and publish his scientific papers. S.I. Tikhomirov went tragic (he drowned in the sea). The first marriage with Alexandr Rasnytsin caused her interest and productive researches on insect ontogeny and evolution. Family union of Rasnitsyn and Tikhomirova was not long (it lasted from autumn 1958 to spring 1961), but it considerably affected the fates of both of them. It was A. Rasnitsyn, who converted the Tikhomirova's doctoral thesis on the ontogeny transformation of insects into the monograph. Finally, A.L. Tikhomirova was married by a botanist Stanislav Rasumovsky, the author of ingenious conceptions in the field of geographical botany. This marriage initiated the interest of Anna to the problems of the geographical botany. Though herself she published nothing on geographical botany, she got into the subject and helped her husband to finish and publish his monograph "Zakonomernosti dinamiki biotsenozov" [Regularities of the biocenoses dynamics. Moscow, 1981].

A.P. Rasnitsyn, July 1999
(translated to English by A.Yu. Solodovnikov)


  1. [Morphological and ecological features of staphylinid-beetles and their phylogenesis (with catalogue of fauna of USSR)] (in Russian). Morfoekologicheskie osobennosti i filogenez stafilinid. - Moscow, 1973.
  2. [Ontogeny transformation as a mechanism of the insect evolution] (in Russian). Perestroyka ontogenesa kak mekhanizm evolutsii nasekomykh. - Moscow, 1991.


Last updated: April 20, 2000 г.