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

Laurent Raty l.raty at skynet.be
Thu Mar 3 01:54:45 CST 2016


It's difficult and hazardous to comment about a manuscript without 
having seen it. (I should also note that I know next to nothing of early 
entomological literature.)

- "arboutes cens" means nothing Latin. This should probably have been 
written as a single word, making it an adjective in -escens; but 
"arboutescens" still means nothing, hence the word, in addition of 
having been cut in two, was presumably also mistranscribed.
- Swammerdam 1669 described a "/Pulex, arboreus/ of /arborescens/" 
(where "of" is Dutch for "or"), which was a water flea (presumably 
Daphnia sp.). See: 
http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?PPN483385956 -- the name is 
on p.76; there is an illustration ("TAB. I.") a couple of pages before it.
I'm wondering if the original might not have read "Pediculus 
arborescens, Swammerdami," -- in which case "Swammerdami" would 
presumably indicate the author who described "Pediculus arborescens", 
not a second species of louse.

"Larvae of grasshoppers" in a lake seem unlikely, I'd say.

Hopefully not a too wild guess,
Laurent -

On 03/03/2016 01:35 AM, Derek Sikes wrote:
> All,
> 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)
> Thanks!
> Derek
>  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.

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