Edmond de Sélys Longchamps
|Edmond de Sélys Longchamps|
|Coat of arms of Sélys-Longchamps|
|President of the Senate|
3 August 1880 – 23 July 1884
|Preceded by||Camille de Tornaco|
|Succeeded by||Jules d'Anethan|
25 May 1813|
|Died||11 December 1900
|Political party||Liberal Party|
Selys-Longchamps was regarded as the world's greatest authority on dragonflies and damselflies. His wealth and influence enabled him to amass one of the finest collections of neuropteroid insects and to describe many species from around the world. His collection is housed in the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences.
He was the author of Monographie des Libellulidées d'Europe (1840) and Faune Belge (1842).
Selys-Longchamps was a wealthy aristocrat born at Paris. He was educated at home and never at University but became the leading student of Odonata (worldwide) and the Neuropteroid (worldwide) and Orthopteroid (mainly Europe) insects. He was also a leading ornithologist. A liberal representative in the Belgian Parliament he became Councillor for Waremme in 1846 entered the Belgian Senate in 1855 and was finally elected President of the Belgian Senate from 1880 - 1884. His early interest in birds is shown by a book of coloured figures of Belgian species painted when he was 16.Ornithology remained a lifelong interest and he assembled an ornithological museum at Waremme maintaining a very large collections of birds, both European and Exotic and including a great auk and an egg. He was also interested in small mammals. At 18 ( 1831) he published his first scientific paper,a list of the insects of Liege and in 1837 a list of the, dragonflies or Odonata and butterflies and moths or Lepidoptera - of Belgium. From that date on a continuous flow of papers on the Odonata appeared. The works were often monographic examples being, 1840 Monographie des Libellulides d'Europeand 1850 Revue des Odonates d'Europe, two large works on "Gomphines" and "Calopterygines". There were also synopses (works containing phylogenetic analyses, tables and keys) of the "Gomphines", Calopterygines", Agrionines", "Cordulines" and ( generic only )"Aeschnines". The only family not treated synoptically being the difficult "Libellulines". There are (very numerous) local faunas for dragonflies, appendices to travel works, phylogenetic and morphological notes. Selys-Lonchamps met and began a collaboration with Hermann August Hagen in 1845 They jointly the Revue and two monographs. Hagen also aided work on the Synopses and sometimes Selys is given as the author in Kirbys catalogue when Hagen is ( in many such instances it is clearly stated by de Selys that he had never seen the insects and that Hagen was the author). Selys is the properly attributed author of well over 1,000 species, an enormous number compared to Hagen and more than half of known species. Aware of being an "Homme distrait" Selys often affixed names to undescribed species in his collection ( nomina nuda). This led to much later nomenclatural confusion. De Selys was an inveterate traveller spending long periods in most European countries and being an honorary member of almost all European entomological societies including the Royal Entomological Society which so honoured him in 1871. He helped to found the Societé Entomologique de Belgique in 1856.
He amassed the greatest collection of Neuroptera and Orthoptera in the world incorporating the collections of Pierre André Latreille, Jules Pièrre Rambur, Jean Guillaume Audinet-Serville, and Félix Édouard Guérin-Méneville and wrote over 250 papers some of which are masterworks. His collection is in the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences although there are de Selys types in many other museums- for instance the Hope Department of Entomology, University of Oxford. He died at Liège.
- 1840. Monographie des Libellulidées d'Europe Brussels, 220 pages.
- 1850 with Hermann August Hagen. Revue des odonates ou Libellules d'Europe. Mémoires de la Société Royale des Sciences de Liége 6:1-408. Downloadable at Gallica 
- 1853. Synopsis des Calopterygines. Bulletin de l'Académie royale des Sciences de Belgique (1)20:1-73 (reprint 1-73).
- 1854. Synopsis des Gomphines. Bulletin de l'Académie royale des Sciences de Belgique 21:23-114.
- 1858. Monographie des Gomphines. Mémoires de la Société Royale des Sciences de Liége 9:1-460, 23 pls.
- 1862. Synopsis des agrionines, seconde légion: Lestes. Bulletin de l'Académie royale des Sciences de Belgique (2)13:288-338 (reprint 1-54).
- 1871. Synopsis des Cordulines. Bulletin de l'Académie royale des Sciences de Belgique (2)31:238-316;519-565.
- 1876. Synopsis des agrionines, cinquième légion: Arion (suite). Le genre Agrion. Bulletin de l'Académie royale des Sciences de Belgique (2) 41:247-322, 496-539, 1233-1309 (reprint 1-199).
- 1883. Synopsis des Aeschnines. Première partie: Classification. Bulletin de l'Académie royale des Sciences de Belgique 3(5):712-748.
- Observations sur les phénomènes périodique du règne animal, et particulièrement sur les migrations des oiseaux en Belgique, de 1841 à 1846 Mémoires de l'Académie Royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique 21 pdf from GDZ
- Faune belge. Première partie. Indication méthodique des mammifères, oiseaux, reptiles et poissons, observés jusqu'ici en Belgique. Faune Belge i-xii + 1-310 (1842)
- Partial bibliography
- Edmond de Sélys Longchamps
- Digital Publications at GDZ
- NCSU Sélys Longchamps on a Belgian postage stamp (1255)
- University of Liége A life day by day
- Coen, J., Michel-Edmond de Sélys-Longchamps 1813-1900. Gentilhomme et démocrate, 1982, 217 p.
- Kirby, W.F. 1890. A synonymic catalogue of Neuroptera Odonata, or dragonflies. Gurney and Jackson, London, ix + 202 pp.
- N.N., A la mémoire de Michel Edmond Baron de Sélys-Longchamps 1813-1900, Liège, Impr. H. Vaillart-Carmanne, 1901, 51 p.
- Yans, M., L'Atavisme d'un grand parlementaire de Léopold II : Michel Edmond Baron de Selys-Longchamps, in : Cahiers Léopoldiens, New Series, 1959–1960, nr. 7, p. 59.
- Nicole Caulier-Mathy en Nicole Haesenne-Peremans, 2008 Une vie au fil des jours.Journal d’un notable politicien et naturaliste, Michel-Edmond de Selys-Longchamps (1823-1900), 2 vol., LXV-1747 p., 25 ill., 2 genealogische tafels.(Collectie Groot in-8°).
Camille de Tornaco
|President of the Senate