[Taxacom] Siberian insect names used by Steller in the mid 1700s

Derek Sikes dssikes at alaska.edu
Wed Mar 2 18:35:46 CST 2016


Wondering if any of you could help translate some old insect names?

These were all used by Georg Wilhelm Steller in his journals about his trip
from Irkutsk to Okhotsk, 1740.

pediculus arboutes cens (tree louse, WH, An. 789),
Swammerdam's louse (WH, An. 790),
Rusel Käffer (Curculio L.,Georgi, WH. An. 604)
field lice (literal translation of Feld Wanzen,cimix campestris, Georgi,
WH, An. 605)

The full correspondence I received, which provides some background and a
little context for the use of these names is below.

I suspect the pediculus, louse, and cimix were all 'plant lice' aka, aphids
of some sort. Perhaps psyllids?

Although the beetle is likely to be a weevil, I wonder if it is really what
we call Curculio today (although this genus does appear to occur in
Siberia: Opanasenko, F. I. 1976. Species of the Genus Curculio L.
(Coleoptera) of South of Western Siberia. Fauna of Helminths and Arthropods
of Siberia. Nauka, Novosibirsk, Russia)


>From Karen Willmore:
Ned Rozell gave me your name as someone who might know about lice (?) in
eastern Siberia.  My German colleague, Margritt Engel, and I are
translating from German Georg Wilhelm Steller’s journals about his trip
from Irkutsk to Okhotsk, 1740.  (U of A Press published our translation of
Steller's Description of Kamchatka, 2003.)  We are particularly stuck on
his description of several types of lice, or at least that’s the only
translation we can come up with.  Lice in Siberia?  I’ve attached the
sentences where he mentions these critters.

This excerpt is from June 20, Steller and his crew having just having left
Yakutsk. "The quiet lakes are full of insects like lice, among them
pediculus arboutes cens (tree louse, WH, An. 789), Swammerdam's louse (WH,
An. 790), larvae of grasshoppers, and on the shores grasshoppers in
frightening numbers.”   The latin name is from Steller; the identification
is based on Georgi 1790-1802, done by the editor Wieland Hintzsche.
Swammerdam’s louse is also from Steller.

Then there’s a short reference to some type of weevil?

"I noticed that from the last day in May on, insects were within eight days
as numerous in these parts as at home in Russia in July. On May 1 and 2, I
found the large [weevils?] Rusel Käffer (Curculio L.,Georgi, WH. An. 604),
field lice (literal translation of Feld Wanzen, cimix campestris, Georgi,
WH, An. 605) and mosquitoes, which shows that the long days shorten their
maturation dates by a lot. “

Rusel Käfer and Feld Wanzen are both Steller’s names

If you have the time and interest, we’d welcome your help in identifying
these insects.


Derek S. Sikes, Curator of Insects
Associate Professor of Entomology
University of Alaska Museum
907 Yukon Drive
Fairbanks, AK   99775-6960

dssikes at alaska.edu

phone: 907-474-6278
FAX: 907-474-5469

University of Alaska Museum  -  search 302,939 digitized arthropod records

Interested in Alaskan Entomology? Join the Alaska Entomological
Society and / or sign up for the email listserv "Alaska Entomological
Network" at

More information about the Taxacom mailing list