Francis de Laporte de Castelnau
Born in London, Castelnau 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, on an expedition to cross 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.
Hoax Australian fish
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.
Castelnau is commemorated, among others, in the scientific name of a species of Australian gecko, Oedura castelnaui,, of a species of ground beetle, Megacephala castelnaui, and of the spotback skate, Atlantoraja castelnaui.
- 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.
- Some sources give his year of birth as 1812.
- Whitley, G. P. (1974). Laporte, François Louis Nompar de Caumont (1810–1880). Australian Dictionary of Biography. MUP. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
- Luck, Geoffrey (23 August 2014). "The Fishiest Fish". Quadrant Online (July–August).
- Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Castelnau", p. 49).
- IPNI. Castelnau.
- "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.