Francis de Laporte de Castelnau

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Francis de Laporte de Castelnau

François Louis Nompar de Caumont LaPorte, comte de Castelnau (25 December 1810[1] – 4 February 1880) was a French naturalist, known also as François Laporte or Francis de Castelnau.

Life[edit]

Born in London, he studied natural history in Paris. From 1837 to 1841 he led a scientific expedition to Canada, where he studied the fauna of the Canadian lakes and the political systems of Upper and Lower Canada (roughly corresponding to the modern provinces of Ontario and Quebec) and of the United States.

Castelnau, a French savant, was sent by Louis Philippe, in 1843, with two botanists and a taxidermist, he crossed South America from Rio de Janeiro to Lima, following the watershed between the Amazon and La Plata river systems, and thence to Pará. He was gone for five years.

He served as the French consul in Bahia in 1848; in Siam from 1848 until 1862, and in Melbourne, Australia from 1864 to 1877.

Hoax Australian fish[edit]

Through no fault of his own, Castelnau's name is attached to an Australian hoax. "Ompax spatuloides", a supposed ganoid fish said to have been discovered in 1872 and named by Castelnau, was a joke originally directed at Karl Staiger, the director of the Brisbane Museum. Staiger forwarded a sketch and description of the made-up fish to Castelnau, who duly described it.

Works[edit]

  • Histoire naturelle, 1837.
  • Vues et souvenirs de l'Amérique du Nord
  • Expédition dans les parties centrales de l'Amérique: histoire naturelle des insectes coléoptères, 1840.
  • with Hippolyte Louis Gory Histoire naturelle et iconographie des insectes coléoptères, publiée par monographies séparées, quatre monographies dont la première semble être la seule signée par Laporte (quatre tomes et sept volumes, P. Duménil, Paris, 1837–1841).
  • Mémoires sur les poissons de l'Afrique australe, 1843.


Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Some sources give his year of birth as 1812.
  2. ^ "Author Query for 'Castelnau'". International Plant Names Index. 

Further reading[edit]

  • "Francis L. de Laporte, Comte de Castelnau," in Tom Taylor and Michael Taylor, Aves: A Survey of the Literature of Neotropical Ornithology, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Libraries, 2011.

External links[edit]