[Taxacom] Linnaeus' first insect

Michael Schmitt m.schmitt at uni-bonn.de
Wed Feb 6 04:30:25 CST 2008

Dear David P. Shorthouse, dear colleagues,

since I have been abroad for a week, I come 
across your posting to TAXACOM only now. Maybe 
your question is no longer open. Just in case you are interested:

It is difficult, if not impossible, to trace back 
which insect Linnaeus first DESCRIBED. In 
contrast to what many people (even taxonomists) 
believe, are the phrases in SYSTEMA NATURAE ed. 
10 NOT descriptions proper, and they were not 
intended to be that by Linnaeus. Instead, they 
are NAMES, and possibly what we today would call 
DIAGNOSES (differentiae). The DESCRIPTIONS can be 
found in the sources provided by Linnaeus in Systema Naturae.

The first insect Linnaeus LISTED in Systema 
Naturae 10th ed. is on p. 345 Scarabaeus 
Hercules, for which Linnaeus gives as the first 
source: "Marcgr. bras. 246" = Marcgrav de 
Liebstad, G. 1648. Historiæ rervm natvarlivm 
Brasiliæ, libri octo: quorum tres priores agvnt 
de plantis. Quartus de piscibvs. Quintus de 
avibvs. Sextus de quadrvpedibvs & serpentibvs. 
Septimus de insectis. Octavus de ipsa regione, & 
illivs incolis. Cvm appendice de Tapuyis, et 
Chilensibvs. - pp. [1-6], 1-293, [1-7], in: 
Mauritius [Mavritii], I.: Historia natvralis 
Brasiliae. In qua non tantum plantæ et animalia, 
sed et indigenarum morbi, ingenia et mores 
describuntur et iconibus supra quingentas 
illustrantur. -- pp. [1-10], 1-122, [1-2], [1-6], 
1-293, [1-7]. Lvgdvni Batavorvm, Amstelodami. (Hackium, Elzevirium).

Good luck


At 13:56 29.01.2008, you wrote:
>I have been navigating ZooBank's presentation of Systema naturae (via
>Biodiversity Heritage Library and University Library of Goettingen) on the
>hunt for the very first insect Linnaeus described. Though this service is
>really cool, I am growing impatient because it is a bit slow for such a
>quick tidbit of trivia. Can someone who knows this bit of trivia send it my
>David P. Shorthouse
>Encyclopedia of Life - WorkBench
>MBL, Woods Hole, MA
>mailto:dshorthouse at eol.org
>Taxacom mailing list
>Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu

* Prof.Dr. Michael Schmitt (Bonner zoologische Beitraege,              *
* Editor-in-Chief)                                                     *
* Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig                       *
* Adenauerallee 160, D-53113 Bonn, Germany                             *
* Phone: +49 228-9122 286, Fax +49 228-9122 332                        *
* e-mail: m.schmitt at uni-bonn.de                                        *
* http://www.zfmk.de/web/ZFMK_Mitarbeiter/SchmittMichael/index.de.html *

Please note: Editor-in-Chief of Zoologischer Anzeiger is from January,
2008: Dr. Carsten Lueter, Berlin (carsten.lueter at museum.hu-berlin.de) 

More information about the Taxacom mailing list