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Leopolodo E. Caltagirone
In Memoriam

Leopolodo E. Caltagirone

Entomologist, Department of Entomology and Environmental Sciences, Policy & Management

UC Berkeley

Leopoldo (Leo) Caltagirone, an entomologist, and long-term research professor in the Department of Entomological Sciences at UC Berkeley, died August 6, 2021, in El Cerrito, CA.

He was born in Valparaiso, Chile on March 1, 1927. The oldest of three children of Raymundo Caltagirone and Laura Zamora, he grew up and went to primary and secondary school in Valparaiso. He attended the University of Chile at Santiago and received his undergraduate, Ingeniero Agronomo, degree in 1951. From September 1949 through June 1962, he worked as an entomology assistant at the national agricultural station of the Agricultural Ministry of Chile in La Cruz. In 1957, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to study at the University of California at Berkeley, where he received a PhD in Entomology in 1960.

After finishing graduate studies at Berkeley, Leo returned to La Cruz, Chile where he taught Biology at the Catholic University of Valparaiso. In 1962 he was recruited by UC Berkeley where he started his career as a Junior Entomologist in the Division of Biological Control of the Department of Entomological Sciences. Under the direction of the “pioneers of biological control” at Berkeley, Leo’s research focused on biological control of agricultural pests, specifically parasitoids of insect pests such as Grapholita molesta, Anarsia lineatella and Tetranychus urticae in fruit crops (walnuts, almonds), but he also worked on other crops. His research focused on the biology of endoparasitoids, and he was an expert on the taxonomy of encyrtid (Copidosomatini).

When he wasn’t at his laboratory at the UC Gill Tract research station in Albany or teaching on campus, he spent many hours with farmers and ranchers in the Central Valley of California implementing environmentally friendly methods of managing pests using natural enemies. He strongly promoted classical biological control which is based on the introduction and release of beneficial insects collected from the centers of origin of target exotic pests. He was active in foreign exploration in Central America, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and Iran, where he searched for candidates predators and parasitoids of California insect pests. He served as a consultant for USAID providing expert advice on integrated pest management (IPM) and biological control in Central America and Sri Lanka. In 1977-1978, he and his family spent a sabbatical year in Iran at Bu Ali Sina University in Hamadan, Iran, where he taught and conducted research. They left Iran shortly before the Iranian 1978 revolution.

His research included over 60 publications ranging from basic science to applied aspects of biological control. He wrote many papers in collaboration with colleagues and students of the Division of Biological Control.

Leo taught undergraduate and graduate courses on biological control and the biology of parasitoids in the Department of Entomological Sciences, and served as major professor for PhD and Master students. Early in his career, he was promoted to Full Professor and served twice as Chairman of the Division of Biological Control for two years each time. He retired from the University of California in 1992.

Leo loved playing the violin and was very active in several quartets and duets. His passion for music began at the age of five when he began playing the violin. During his retirement, he made string instruments including violins and violas. He continued playing with his music buddies throughout his retirement.

His travels made for a very exciting and multicultural experience for his family. He often shared these stories with faculty and students. Leo was an impeccably honest, respectful, wonderful man who was well liked and respected by everyone who had the honor of knowing this gentle and kind man.

He is survived by his wife Ana, daughters Eliana Bushwalter (Lawrence), Silvia Calder, son Ricardo Caltagirone (Beth), and grandchildren Carmen Calder, Marcus Calder, Kimberly Caltagirone and Arthur Caltagirone.

Miguel A Altieri, Professor Emeritus
Andrew Paul Gutierrez, Professor Emeritus