[Taxacom] new species based on expedition material

Chris Thompson xelaalex at cox.net
Thu Jul 18 13:51:06 CDT 2013

Yes, Michael,

those are interesting statistics, and,
yes, it would be nice to try to get others like it.

The problem is the lack of good comprehensive species databases, etc.

I will give you two examples, just based on Diptera (Flies) information for 
our Systema Dipterorum (www.diptera.org):

Rene Malaise (a Swedish entomologist) invented the "Malaise Fly Trap," and 
during one field season in northeastern Burma, collection thousands of 
insects. From those, over 500 new species of flies have been described so 
far. Many more wasps, beetles, etc., have also been described, but without 
good databases to search, who knows.

Fritz Plaumann (a German entomologist) was a professional collection in 
southeastern Brazil (Santa Catarina), again about a new thousand species of 
flies have been described from Nova Teutonia, but who know how many more 
wasps, moths, beetles, etc., were also described.

Yes, some day when museum collections are fully digitalized, etc., one will 
be able to simply query "Burma / Kambaiti" or "Brazil / Nova Teutonia" and 
we will see that Rene Malaise and Fritz Plaumann collected and I know they 
will surpass those totals for Bates and Wallace [better technology!].

Oh, well ...


Chris Thompson

-----Original Message----- 
From: Ohl, Michael
Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2013 1:03 PM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: [Taxacom] new species based on expedition material

Hi list,

I recently read  a newly published biographic book on Alfred Russel Wallace, 
and the author, Matthias Glaubrecht, has compiled some numbers about the 
collecting success by Wallace and some others in relation to the number of 
newly described species based on their material. Here are some examples:

Wallace collected 82,000 beetle specimens in Sotheast Asia, representing 
approx. 7000 species, 900 of which proved to be new. He also brought back 
8050 bird skins, among which were skins of 212 new bird species.

Henry Walter Bates returned 14,712 animal specimens from the Amazon, 8000 of 
which appeared to be undescribed.

These numbers came from different sources, partly by Wallace and Bates 

Another number I am aware of: The Challenger-Expedition revealed an unknown 
number of specimens, but 4,717 new species have been described, 3,500 of 
which radiolariens described by Ernst Haeckel alone.

My questions: Are their any other numbers around, published or unpublished, 
of highly productive single collecting expeditions and the numbers of new 
species described based on that material? Which collectors/expeditions have 
accumulated the largest number of undescribed species? And which 
collectors/expeditions have accumulated the largest number of undescribd 
species, which have not only been recognized as undescribed but which have 
actually been properly described? These two numbers are likely to be 
different in most, but not in all cases.

Cheers, Michael

PD Dr. Michael Ohl
Museum fuer Naturkunde, Berlin
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