[Taxacom] prolific species describers

John Noyes j.noyes at nhm.ac.uk
Mon Apr 15 03:43:56 CDT 2013

Hi Michael,

Francis Walker described about 20,000 species of insects (mainly Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera and Diptera), Alexander is said to have described 12,000+ species of craneflies, but the record goes to a Coleopterist (Pic?) who is said to have described more than 30,000 species of beetles (I am sure Max Barclay of the NHM will be able to give you a more precise figure). Contemporary or recently deceased insect taxonomists seem to top out at around 2000. In Chalcidoidea Girault (1905-1941) described the most taxa (4928 taxa, 4110 species) followed by Francis Walker (1832-1875) (2415 taxa, 2288 species).

I am sure that someone else will come up with more accurate figures for these and other groups.


John Noyes
Scientific Associate
Department of Life Sciences
Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road
South Kensington
London SW7 5BD 
jsn at nhm.ac.uk
Tel.: +44 (0) 207 942 5594
Fax.: +44 (0) 207 942 5229

Universal Chalcidoidea Database (everything you wanted to know about chalcidoids and more):

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Ohl, Michael
Sent: 13 April 2013 14:53
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: [Taxacom] prolific species describers


I had expected that this request has already been posted in Taxacom, but my (very) quick search in the Taxacom archive resulted in nothing. So here it is (again?).

I am trying to set up a list of the most prolific species describers in zoology. A few names immediately came to my mind, like Charles Paul Alexander with more than 11,000 names in Diptera, and Johann Christian Fabricius with more than 10,000 names across several insect orders. But there might be more!

So please post your bid for higher or similar numbers! I will distribute a top-10-list at the end.

Although I am basically interested in the total number of names published by a single person, any further statistics are welcome, if available. Number of names still valid today, total number of genus- vs. species-group names ....

Cheers, Michael Ohl

Museum fuer Naturkunde, Berlin
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