Carl Robert Osten-Sacken

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Carl Robert Osten-Sacken
Carl Robert Osten-Sacken cph.3a02995.jpg
Carl Robert Osten-Sacken
Born(1828-08-21)August 21, 1828
DiedMay 20, 1906(1906-05-20) (aged 77)
OccupationDiplomat and entomologist
Known forRussian consul general in New York City during the American Civil War

Carl Robert Osten-Sacken or Carl-Robert Romanovich, Baron von der Osten-Sacken, Baron Osten Sacken (21 August 1828, – 20 May 1906) was a Russian diplomat and entomologist. He served as the Russian consul general in New York City during the American Civil War, living in the United States from 1856 to 1877. He worked on the taxonomy of flies in general and particularly of the family Tipulidae (crane flies).

Carl Robert Osten-Sacken was born on 21 August 1828 in St. Petersburg. He was a member of Russian nobility but his parents' names are unknown. Osten-Sacken took an interest in insects at the age of eleven through the influence of Joseph N. Schatiloff, a Russian coleopterist.[1] In 1849 he joined the Imperial Foreign Office and while still in Russia he published his first entomological papers, including an account of the species found in the suburbs of St. Petersburg.[2]

In 1856, he was sent to Washington, D.C. to serve as secretary of the Russian legation. During his two-month trip to America, he visited some of Europe’s leading entomologists, including Hermann August Hagen, then living in Konigsberg. In the mid-1860s Osten Sacken helped Hagen secure a position at Harvard, where he became the first entomologist in the United States to hold the formal title, Professor of Entomology. In 1862 Osten Sacken was named the Russian consul general in New York City, a post he held until 1871.[3]

He developed an early interest in entomology specialising in Diptera and especially the Tipulidae. In 1862 Osten-Sacken published, with assistance from Hermann Loew, “Catalogue of the described Diptera of North America” in Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Vol. 3. A later edition of this work appeared in 1878, as Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, No. 270. He published many other papers. His work on the Tipulidae included a classification of the family. He also studied insect galls and worked on the Tabanidae. Osten-Sacken corresponded with Hermann Loew, supplying him with specimens, and translated and published Loew's work in the "Monographs of the Diptera of North America", (1862-1873), Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Nos. 6, 171, 219, 256. He proposed the term chaetotaxy.[4][5]

Asteroid 335 Roberta was named in his honor.[6] A subspecies of North American snake, Thamnophis sauritus sackenii, was named in his honour by Robert Kennicott in 1859.[7] The cynipid gall wasp Amphibolips quercusostensackenii Bassett, 1863 is named in his honour.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Alexander 1969
  2. ^ Sterling 2000
  3. ^ Sterling 2000
  4. ^ Osten-Sacken CR (1884). "An Essay on Comparative Chætotaxy, or the arrangement of characteristic bristles of Diptera". Transactions of the Entomological Society of London. 1884: 497–517. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
  5. ^ Osten-Sacken 1903
  6. ^ (2003) 335 Roberta. In: Dictionary of Minor Planet Names. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
  7. ^ Beolens B, Watkins M, Grayson M (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Osten-Sacken", p. 197).


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