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Jon Gelhaus, Ph.D.

Jon Gelhaus, PhD

Curator and Department Chair, Entomology Department, Academy of Natural Sciences
Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science
Office: Department of Entomology, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
Phone: 215.299.1141

Additional Sites:

Academy of Natural Sciences: Entemology
Mongolian Aquatic Insect Survey


  • PhD, Entomology, University of Kansas, 1989
  • MA, Entomology, University of Kansas, 1983
  • BS, Entomology, University of California at Davis, 1978

Curriculum Vitae:

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Research Interests:

  • Taxonomy
  • Systematics
  • Entomology
  • Biodiversity
  • Water Quality
  • Museum Collections


Jon Gelhaus developed his interest in insects growing up in Sacramento, California. After earning his doctoral degree in entomology at the University of Kansas, Gelhaus became a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution. He joined the Academy of Natural Sciences as an assistant curator of entomology in 1990 and now serves as the department chair.

His particular interest is in the systematics, evolution, and natural history of insects, specifically crane flies, Tipuloidea, a vital group in aquatic and terrestrial habitats with over 15,000 species worldwide.

Although Gelhaus has active research projects on North American crane flies, his research on crane flies and aquatic insects has taken him worldwide. His work in Mongolia spans nearly 20 years and encompasses two projects he led funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation. Gelhaus received the Khubilai Khan Medal from the Mongolian Academy of Sciences in 2013 for his work describing and documenting the aquatic insect fauna of Mongolia and developing its use in water quality monitoring.

He has published more than 90 papers on the identification, systematics, ecology, and general natural history of crane flies and other insects.

Gelhaus has served as Principal Investigator on numerous curatorial projects funded by organizations including the National Science Foundation, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Save America’s Treasures, Pennsylvania Wild Resource Conservation Fund, and many others. In addition, he has served in multiple elected roles on the executive council of the American Entomological Society, including as president.

Gelhaus teaches courses including ENVS 201 Plant and Animal Identification, ENVS 393/394 Entomology and Lab, ENVS 328/528 Conservation Biology, ENVS 480 Insects and Water Quality, and led the ENVS 864 Graduate Seminar for two years. He has two current PhD students and two undergraduate researchers, with two students receiving their PhDs in 2021-2022.

Selected Publications:

  • Conrow, R. T. and J. K. Gelhaus. (2022) Wing interference patterns are consistent and sexually dimorphic in the four families of crane flies (Diptera, Tipuloidea). ZooKeys 1080: 135-163.
  • Bolortsetseg Erdenee, Alain Maasri, Jon K. Gelhaus, Barbara L. Hayford, James H. Thorp & Nicholas E. Kotlinski (2021): Comparison of streamflow patterns in drainages of two major terminal basins: the United States Great Basin and Mongolia’s Central Asian Internal Drainage, Inland Waters, DOI: 10.1080/20442041.2021.1956269 : (22 Sept 2021)
  • Mason Jr, Stephen C, Vaughn Shirey, Lauren C Ponisio and Jon K Gelhaus. 2021. Responses from bees, butterflies, and ground beetles to different fire and site characteristics: A global meta-analysis Biological Conservation 261 (2021) 1-16. (July 30 2021). Supplemental data files 1-4, Appendix files A and B
  • Podeniene V., Podenas S., Park S.-J., Kim A-Y., Kim J.A & Gelhaus J.K. 2021. Review of East Palaearctic Elliptera (Diptera, Limoniidae) immatures with description of a new species. European Journal of Entomology 735: 110–132 *.
  • Mason, Jr. S.C., I.S. Betancourt, and J.K. Gelhaus. 2020. Importance of building a digital species index (spindex) for entomology collections: A case study, results and recommendations. Biodiversity Data Journal 8:e58310.
  • Yadamsuren, Oyunchuluun, John C. Morse, Barbara Hayford, Jon K. Gelhaus, Peter H. Adler. 2020. Macroinvertebrate Community Responses to Land Use: Trait-Based Approach for Freshwater Biomonitoring in Mongolia. Hydrobiologia DOI (online March 20, 2020, Open access)
  • R. William Bouchard and Jon K. Gelhaus 2020 (online pub. Dec 2019). "First record of a skating crane fly: The unusual ecology, behavior, and morphology of Phantolabis lacustris (Alexander, 1938) (Diptera: Limoniidae) with descriptions of the immature stages," Freshwater Science 39 (1): 86-100. Appendix S1(localities) 4 pgs. Supplemental Video 115 MB.
  • Gelhaus, J. K. and V. Podeniene. 2019. Tipuloidea. Chapter 24, pp. 1023-1070.IN: Merritt, R. W., K. Cummins and M. Berg, eds., An introduction to the aquatic insects of North America, 5th ed., Kendall-Hunt Publ., Dubuque IA. 1498 pp. Kato, D. , T. Tachi & J. Gelhaus. 2018. Revision of the subgenus Dicranomyia (Erostrata) Savchenko, 1976 (Diptera, Limoniidae) of Japan. Zootaxa 4441 (1) : 181-194. June 27 2018 DOI:
  • Gelhaus, J., Brodo, F., Young, C., Frommer, S. & May, E. 2018. A tribute to George W. Byers 16 May 1923 to 1 January 2018. Fly Times 60 (April 2018): 55-67.
  • Starkevich, P., S. Podenas and J. Gelhaus 2020. Taxonomic review of Tipula (Vestiplex Bezzi) crane flies (Diptera Tipulidae) in Mongolia. Zootaxa 4837 (1): 001-088.
  • Art Borkent, Brian V. Brown, Peter H. Adler, Dalton de Souza Amorim, Kevin Barber, Daniel Bickel, Stephanie Boucher, Scott E. Brooks, John Burger, Z.L. Burington, Renato S. Capellari, Daniel N.R. Costa, Jeffrey M. Cumming, Greg Curler, Carl W. Dick, J.H. Epler, Eric Fisher, Stephen D. Gaimari, Jon Gelhaus, David A. Grimaldi, John Hash, Martin Hauser, Heikki Hippa, Sergio Ibáñez-Bernal, Mathias Jaschhof, Elena P. Kameneva, Peter H. Kerr, Valery Korneyev, Cheslavo A. Korytkowski, Giar-Ann Kung, Gunnar Mikalsen Kvifte, Owen Lonsdale, Stephen A. Marshall, Wayne Mathis, Verner Michelsen, Stefan Naglis, Allen L. Norrbom, Steven Paiero, Thomas Pape, Alessandre Pereira-Colavite, Marc Pollet, Sabrina Rochefort, Alessandra Rung, Justin B. Runyon, Jade Savage, Vera C. Silva, Bradley J. Sinclair, Jeffrey H. Skevington, John O. Stireman III, John Swann, Pekka Vilkamaa, Terry Wheeler, Terry Whitworth, Maria Wong, D. Monty Wood, Norman Woodley, Tiffany Yau, Thomas J. Zavortink, Manuel A. Zumbado. 2018. Remarkable fly (Diptera) diversity in a patch of Costa Rican cloud forest: Why inventory is a vital science. Zootaxa 4402 (1): 053–090. *
  • Podeniene, V. and J. K. Gelhaus. 2017. The first description of the larva and pupa of crane fly genus Phyllolabis Osten Sacken, 1877 (Diptera, Limoniidae, Limnophilinae), with information for understanding the phylogenetic relationships and systematical position of the genus. Zootaxa 4365 (5): 559–570. * DOI:
  • Podeniene, V. and J. Gelhaus. 2015. Review of the last instar larvae and pupae of Hexatoma (Eriocera) and Hexatoma (Hexatoma) (Diptera, Limoniidae, Limnophilinae). Zootaxa. 4021 (1): 093–118
  • Yadamsuren, O., B. Hayford, J. Gelhaus, L. Ariuntsetseg, C. Goulden, S. Podenas and V. Podeniene. 2015. Declines in diversity of crane flies (Diptera: Tipuloidea) indicate impact from grazing by livestock in the Hövsgöl region of Mongolia. Journal of Insect Conservation 19(3): 465-477. DOI 10.1007/s10841-015-9767-4 (*)