Dr Chris Watts

Honorary Research Associate Entomology

+61 8 8207 7478


Chris joined the Museum in 1983 when the Evolutionary Biology Unit was administratively transferred from the South Australian Department of Agriculture to the South Australian Department for the Arts.  He became Chief Scientist and Administrator of the Division of Natural Science, then Head of the Division. An early task for Chris was acting as the Museum’s contact person during construction of the, then, new Natural Science building followed by major refurbishment of the North Terrace building.  Chris retired in 2002 when he became an Honorary Research Associate.


Research Interests

Taxonomy and systematics of aquatic beetles of Australia.                           

Current Research Projects 

Systematics of Australian Marsh Beetles (Scirtidae).  S.J.B. Cooper, R. Leys.  Ongoing Australian Biological Resources Study, $5000.

Pictorial keys to Australian Aquatic beetles. C. Watts.  Field Naturalist of South Australia, $3000.

Taxonomy of subterranean Dytiscidae (carnivorous diving beetles). C. Watts.

Taxonomy of larval Dytiscidae (carnivorous diving beetles).  C. Watts.


Professional Associations                   

  • Councillor, Royal Society of South Australia



  • BSc (Hons), University of Adelaide (1963)
  • DPhil, Oxford University (1966)


Media Expertise

Fresh water beetles of South Australia - their ecology, biodiversity and as indicators of the health of water bodies. 



  1. Watts, C. H. S. and McRae, J. (2010). The identity of Haliplus (Coleoptera: Halipilidae) from the Pilbara region of Australia, including the description of four new species. Records of the Western Australian Museum 25: 387–398. 
  2. Watts, C. H. S. (2010). Revision of the genus Macrohelodes (Scirtidae: Coleoptera; Insecta). Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 134:19–52.
  3. Watts, C. H. S. (2010). Revision of Australian Prionocyphon Redtenbacher (Scirtidae: Coleoptera). Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 134: 53–86.
  4. Watts, C. H. S. (2009). Revision of Australian Scirtidae of the genera Chameloscyphon gen. nov. Daploeuros gen . nov Dasyscyphon gen. nov. Eurycyphon gen nov., Macrodascillus Carter, Petrocyphon gen., nov., and Spaniosdascillus gen. nov.  (Coleoptera: Scirtidae). Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 135: 66–110.
  5. Watts, C. H. S. (2009). Revision of Heterocyphon Armstrong, Peneveronatus Armstrong and Accolabass Gen Nov (Scirtidae: Coleoptera). Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 133:108–149.
  6. Alarie, Y., Michat, M. C., and. Watts, C. H. S. (2009). Larval morphology of Paroster Sharp, 1882 (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae: Hydroporine): reinforcement of the hypothesis of monophyletic origin and discussion of phenotypic accommodation to a hypogeaic environment. Zootaxa 2274:1–44.
  7. Hendrich, L. and Watts, C. H. S. (2009). Taxonomic revision of the Australian predaceous water beetle genus Carabhydrus Watts, 1978 (Col. Dytiscidae, Hydroporinae, Hydroporini). Zootaxa 2048:1–30.
  8. Watts, C. H. S. and Leys, R. (2008). Notes on the epigean members of the genus Paroster Sharp, with descriptions of new species and phylogeny based on DNA sequence data of two mitochondrial genes (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae). Koleopterologische Rundschau 78: 
  9. Watts, C.H.S. (2007). Revision of Australian Pseudomicrocara Armstrong (Coleoptera: Scirtidae). Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 131: 1–82.
  10. Watts, C.H.S., and Leys, R. (2006). Notes on Australian Hyphydrus Illiger, including taxonomy, key to the species and sexual dimorphism (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae). Koleopterologische Rundschau 76:15–21.


Downloadable e-publications co-authored by Dr Chris Watts

Watts and Hamon: Pictorial Guide to the Australian Whirligig Beetles.

Watts and Hamon: Pictorial Guide to the Diving Beetles of South Australia


Hygrobidae publication

Water beetles publication

Click on the images above to download the pdfs.