Emilie Snethlage

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Henriette Mathilde Maria Elizabeth Emilie (Mila) Snethlage
Born April 13, 1868
Gransee-Kraaz, Brandenburg district, Germany
Died November 25, 1929 (1929-11-26) (aged 61)
Porto Velho, Madeira River, Brazil
Citizenship Brazilian
Nationality German
Fields Ornithology
Institutions Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi
Alma mater Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg in Breisgau
Doctoral advisor August Weismann
Known for Amazonian ornithology
Influences Emílio Goeldi, Bertha Lutz
Notable awards Brazilian Academy of Sciences
This remarkable woman opened science
as a profession for Brazilian women.

Maria Emilie Snethlage (April 13, 1868 – November 25, 1929) was a German-born Brazilian naturalist and ornithologist who worked on the bird fauna of the Amazon. Snethlage collected in Brazil from 1905 until her death.

Maria Emilie Snethlage was born in Kraatz (now part of Gransee) in the Province of Brandenburg, Prussia, and educated privately at her father's house (Rev. Emil Snethlage). In 1900, after years working as a governess, she took up natural history. Snethlage was a doctor in Natural Philosophy and had been a zoological assistant at the Berlin Natural History Museum before being hired by Emílio Goeldi for the natural history museum in Belém on the recommendation of Dr. A. Reichenow. Her work in the Brazilian Amazon took her to Acre and other remote places.

She became the director of the Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, after the death of botanist Jacques Hüber, between 1914 and 1922. She wrote the Catálogo das Aves Amazônicas (1914). Snethlage was granted honorary membership in the British Ornithologists' Union in 1915. In 1921 she went to the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro, as "naturalista viajante." She continued her studies of the Brazilian avifauna with field trips to Minas Gerais, Maranhão, Ceará, Espírito Santo, Santa Catarina, Paraná, São Paulo state, and the Brazilian Amazon.

She died of heart failure in Porto Velho, on the Madeira River, while on a field trip. In her last letter, written shortly before she died, Snethlage mentions meeting the English butterfly collector Margaret Fountaine.

Her nephew was the ethnologist Dr. Emil Heinrich Snethlage.

The Madeira Parakeet Pyrrhura snethlageae, described as new to science in 2002, was named in her honour.

Publications (partial list)[edit]

  • Snethlage, E. 1905 - Ueber die Frage vom Muskelansatz und der Herkunft der Muskulatur bei den Arthropoden. Zoologische Jahrbücher. Bd. 21. Abteilung für Anatomie
  • Snethlage, E. 1906 - Ueber brasilianische Voegel. Ornithologische Monatsberichte, 14:9.
  • Snethlage, E. 1906 - Einige Bemerkungen ueber Ypocnemis vidua Hellm. und Phlogopsis paraensis Hellm. Ornithologische Monatsberichte, 14:9-3l.
  • Snethlage, E. 1906 - Ein neuer Zwergspecht. Ornithologische Monatsberichte, 14:59-60.
  • Snethlage, E. 1906 - Ueber unteramazonische Voegel. Journal für Ornithologie, 1906:407-4ll, 519-527; 1907:283-299.
  • Snethlage, E. 1907 - Neue Vogelarten aus Südamerika. Ornithologische Monatsberichte., 15:160- 164, 193-196.
  • Snethlage, E. 1908 - Eine Vogelsammlung vom Purus, Brasilien. Journal für Ornithologie, 1908:7-24.
  • Snethlage, E. 1908 - Ornithologisches von Tapajoz und Tocantins. Journal für Ornithologie, 1908:493-539.
  • Snethlage, E. 1908 - Sobre uma collecção de aves do Rio Purus. Bol. Museu Goeldi, 5:43-78.
  • Snethlage, E. 1908 - Novas espécies de aves amazônicas das collecções do Museu Goeldi. Bol. Museu Goeldi, 5:437-448.
  • Snethlage, E. 1908 - Novas espécies de peixes amazônicos das collecções do Museu Goeldi. Bol. Museu Goeldi, 5:449-455.
  • Snethlage, E. 1908 - Bibliographia zoologica. Bol. Museu Goeldi, 5:463-47l.
  • Snethlage, E. 1909 - Sobre a distribuição da avifauna campestre na Amazônia. Bol. Museu Goeldi, 6:226-235.
  • Snethlage, E. 1909 - Berichtigung. Orn. Monatsberichte, 18:192.
  • Snethlage, E. 1910 - Zur Ethnographie der Chipaya und Curuahé. Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, : 612-637.
  • Snethlage, E. 1910 - Neue Vogelarten aus Amazonien. Ornithologische Monatsberichte, 20:153- 155.
  • Snethlage, E. 1912 - A travessia entre o Xingu e o Tapajoz. Bol. Museu Goeldi, 7:49-92.
  • Snethlage, E. 1912 - Vocabulario comparativo dos Indios Chipayas e Curuahé. Bol. Museu Goeldi, 12:93-99.
  • Snethlage, E. 1913 - A travessia entre o Xingú e o Tapajoz . Pará, Brazil: E. Lohse & Cia.
  • Snethlage, E. 1913 - Ueber die Verbreitung der Vogelarten in Unteramazonien. Journal für Ornithologie, 1913: 469-539.
  • Snethlage, E. 1914 - Neue Vogelarten aus Amazonien. Ornithologische Monatsberichte, 22:39-44.
  • Snethlage, E. 1914 - Catálogo das Aves Amazônicas. Boletim do Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi de Historia Natural e Etnografia, 8: 1-530.
  • Snethlage, E. 1917 - Nature and Man in Eastern Pará, Brazil. The Geographical Review (New York), 4(1): 4l-50.
  • Snethlage, E. 1920-1921 - Die Indianerstaemme am mittleren Xingu. Zeitschrift für Ethnologie,  :395-427.
  • Snethlage, E. 1923 - Oribatídeos Brasileiros (Uebersetzung der Arbeit, von Dr. Max Sellnick). Archivos Mus. Nacional, 24:283-300.
  • Snethlage, E. 1924 - Neue Vogelarten aus Nordbrasilien. Journal für Ornithologie, 446-450.
  • Snethlage, E. 1924 - Informações sobre a avifauna do Maranhão, Bol. Mus. Nacional, 1: 219-223.
  • Snethlage, E. 1924 - Novas especies de aves do NE do Brasil. Bol. Mus. Nacional,  :407-412.
  • Snethlage, E. 1925 - Neue Vogelarten aus Nordbrasilien. Journal für Ornithologie, 73:264-274.
  • Snethlage, E. 1925 - Die Flüsse Iriri und Curuá im Gebiete des Xingu. Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Erdkunde zu Berlin, : 328-354.
  • Snethlage, E. 1925 - Resumo de trabalhos executados na Europa de 1924-1925. Bol. Mus. Nacional, 2 (6): 35-70.
  • Snethlage, E. 1926 - Uma nova espécie de Dendrocolaptídeo no interior do Brasil. Bol. Mus. Nacional, 3(3): 59-60.
  • Snethlage, E. 1926 - Algumas observações sobre pássaros raros e pouco conhecidos do Brasil, Bol. Mus. Nacional, 3(3): 6l-64.
  • Snethlage, E. 1927 - Bemerkungen ueber einige wenig bekannte Formicariiden aus Süd- und Mittelbrasilien. Journal für Ornithologie, :37l-374.
  • Snethlage, E. 1927 - Ein neuer Cuculidae aus Südbrasilien. Ornithologische Monatsberichte, 35(3): 80-82.
  • Snethlage, E. 1928 - Novas espécies e subespécies de aves do Brasil Central. Bol. Mus. Nac., 4(2): 1-7.


  • Cunha, Oswaldo Rodrigues (1989) Talento e Atitude. Belém, Brazil: Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi.
  • Archives of the Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, Belém, Brazil.


  • Cunha, O.R. (1989). Talento e atitude: estudos biográficos do Museu Emílio Goeldi. Belém: Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi. 
  • Lutz, Bertha. (1958) “Emilie Snethlage (1868-1929)”. In: Museu Nacional/Universidade do Brasil. Relatório annual, 1957 [Annual Report]. Rio de Janeiro. p. 39-43.

External links[edit]