entomology

Maria Sibylla Merian and her Love for Nature’s Details

Maria Sibylla Merian and her Love for Nature’s Details

On April 2, 1647, the German naturalist and scientific illustrator Maria Sibylla Merian was born. Even though she is not very well known for her achievements, she made significant contributions to entomology through the observation and documentation of the metamorphosis of the butterfly. The Birth of Entomology The fact that Maria Sibylla Merian is not well known throughout the scientific community is probably caused by the fact that the study of nature…
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Entomologist and Myrmecologist William Morton Wheeler

Entomologist and Myrmecologist William Morton Wheeler

On March 19, 1865, American entomologist William Morton Wheeler was born. Wheeler published extensively on the classification, structure and behaviour of ants, on which he was a recognized world authority. Wheeler also wrote on problems of embryology, evolution, parasitism and the social life of animals in general. “But if the ants are not despondent because they have failed to produce a new social invention or convention in 65 million years, why should we be…
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Jan Swammerdam – Dutch Naturalist and Microscopist

Jan Swammerdam – Dutch Naturalist and Microscopist

On February 12, 1637, Dutch biologist and microscopist Jan Swammerdam was born. He was one of the first people to use the microscope in dissections, and his techniques remained useful for hundreds of years. Swammerdam’s work on insects demonstrated that the various phases during the life of an insect — egg, larva, pupa, and adult — are different forms of the same animal. In 1658, he was the first to observe and describe red…
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Pierre André Latreille – The Father of modern Entomology

Pierre André Latreille – The Father of modern Entomology

On November 29, 1762, French zoologist Pierre André Latreille was born. Latreille was considered the foremost entomologist of his time, and was described by one of his pupils as “the prince of entomologists”. Latreille made the first detailed classification of crustaceans and insects using a “natural method” of classification combining the approaches of Linnaeus and Fabricius. Pierre André Latreille was born on November 29, 1762 in the town of Brive, then in…
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Réaumur and the Réaumur Temperature Scale

Réaumur and the Réaumur Temperature Scale

On October 17, 1757, French entomologist and physicist René-Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur passed away. Réaumur contributed to many different fields, especially the study of insects. But, he is best known for having introduced the Réaumur temperature scale in 1730. Of course everybody has heard of Fahrenheit and Celsius. But, there exists a variety of different temperature scales, most prominent of them the perhaps absolute temperature scale of Lord Kelvin. But, although the other’s prevailed, Réaumur’s scale still…
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Johan Christian Fabricius and his Classification System for Insects

Johan Christian Fabricius and his Classification System for Insects

On January 7, 1745, Danish zoologist Johan Christian Fabricius was born. He was a student of Carl Linnaeus [1], and is considered one of the most important entomologists of the 18th century, having named nearly 10,000 species of animal, and established the basis for modern insect classification. Early Years Johan Christian Fabricius was born in Tønder in the Duchy of Schleswig, where his father was a doctor. Already while still a child, Johan Christian…
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Jean-Henri Fabre – The Virgil of Insects

Jean-Henri Fabre – The Virgil of Insects

On December 22, 1821, French entomologist Jean-Henri Fabre was born. Being a prolific author, his greatest achievement lies in the polularization of insect natural history. Victor Hugo dubbed him “the insects’ Homer” and Edmond Rostand named him the “Virgil of insects.” Darwin cited him as “an incomparable observer.” Jean-Henri Casimir Fabre was born in Saint Léons in Aveyron, France. He spent the first years of his youth at Le Malaval, very close…
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Thomas Say and his Love for Beetles

Thomas Say and his Love for Beetles

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail in: American entomology : A Description of the Insects of North America by Thomas Say On July 27, 1787, American self-taught naturalist, entomologist, malacologist, herpetologist and carcinologist Thomas Say was born. A taxonomist, he is widely considered the father of descriptive entomology in the United States. Thomas Say attended Westtown Boarding School near Philadelphia and his father discouraged him from the pursuit of natural history, trying to interest him instead in the…
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