Johann Ludwig Christian Gravenhorst
Gravenhorst was born in Braunschweig. His early interest in insects was encouraged by two of his professors, both amateur entomologists. He entered the university of Helmstedt to study law in 1797, but the death of his father two years later left him a great fortune, so he was able to change his direction. He enrolled at the university of Göttingen where he followed the courses of Johann Friedrich Blumenbach. He returned to present his thesis to Helmstädt on a subject of entomology. He went to Paris in 1802 and there met Georges Cuvier, Pierre André Latreille and Alexandre Brongniart. Parallel to his studies, he assembled, thanks to his financial means, a very important natural history collection. In 1805, he obtained a professorial chair in Göttingen and published the following year Monographie Coleopterorum.
Among his work, Gravenhorst's studies of the parasitic wasps is especially important but he also worked in herpetology. He settled in Frankfurt (Oder) in 1810 teaching natural history at the university of the city. The following year, the university was transferred to Breslau. There he became director of the Breslau Natural History Museum and installed his own collections there. He started to suffer from mental disorders after 1825 stopping all scientific work in the year 1840 and withdrawing completely into himself in 1856. He died in Breslau.
Species described by Gravenhorst
- Ambystoma opacum, the marbled salamander of the eastern United States
- Rana cancrivora, now Fejervarya cancrivora, the crab-eating frog of Malaysia and Thailand 
- Leiocephalus schreibersii, the red-sided curly-tailed lizard of the West Indies
- Xenochrophis melanzostus, the Andaman keelback snake
- Monographia Coleopterorum Micropterorum. Göttingen: Henricus Dieterich, xvi+248 pp, tabula. (1802)
Click for PDF:
- Coleoptera Microptera Brunsvicensia nec non exoticorum quotquot exstant in collectionibus entomologorum Brunsvicensium in genera familias et species distribuit. Braunschweig: Carolus Reichard, lxvi+207 pp. Gravenhorst, J.L.C (1806)
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- Ichneumologia Europaea. Vratislaviae, sumtibus auctoris. 3 volumes (including supplement). pp. xxxi, 827, (4); 989; 1097, with 2 engraved plates and 2 folded tables.(1829) - Contents I: Generalia, Ichneumones, Supplementa, Indices - II: Tryphones, Trogos, Alomyas, Cryptos - III: Pimplas, Metopios, Bassos, Banchos, Ophiones, Hellwigias, Acaenitas, Xoridas, Supplementa. BHL digitised text of all 3 volumes.
Translated from French Wikipedia
- Townes, H. K. 1965. Labeling in the Gravenhorst collection of Ichneumonidae (Hymen.) Polskie Pismo Entomologiczne 35: 403-407.
Source Kraig Adler (1989). Contributions to the History of Herpetology, Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles.
- Works by Johann Ludwig Christian Gravenhorst at the Biodiversity Heritage Library
- Gaedike, R.; Groll, E. K. & Taeger, A. 2012: Bibliography of the entomological literature from the beginning until 1863 : online database - version 1.0 - Senckenberg Deutsches Entomologisches Institut.