Timeline of entomology – 1800–50

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19th century[edit]

Johann Ludwig Christian Gravenhorst

1800 – an arbitrary date but it was around this time that systematists began to specialise. There remained entomological polyhistors – those who continued to work on the insect fauna as a whole.

From the beginning of the century, however, the specialist began to predominate, harbingered by Johann Wilhelm Meigen's Nouvelle classification des mouches à deux aile (New classification of the Diptera) commenced in the first year of the century. Lepidopterists were amongst the first to follow Meigen's lead. The specialists fell into three categories. First there were species describers, then specialists in species recognition and then specialists in gross taxonomy. There were however considerable degrees of overlap. Also then, as now, few could entirely resist the lure of groups other than their own, and this was especially true of those in small countries where they were the sole 'expert', and many famous specialists in one order also worked on others. Hence, for instance, many works which began as butterfly faunas were completed as general regional works, often collaboratively.

"Man is born not to solve the problems of the universe, but to find out where the problem begins, and then to restrain himself within the limits of the comprehensible" Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Conversations with Eckerman: Feb. 13, 1829



  • Publication of Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet de Lamarck. Système des animaux sans vertèbres ou tableau général des classes, des ordres et des genres de ces animaux. Paris:Deterville in English, 'System of invertebrate animals or general table of classes, orders and genera of these animals'
  • Johan Christian Fabricius Systema eleutheratorum commenced. In a series of successive works to 1806 Johan Christian Fabricius developed a classificatory system based entirely on the structure of the mouthparts.
  • Johann Karl Wilhelm Illiger's Magazin für Insectenkundeor Insect Magazine commenced in Brunswick (last issue 1856). One of the first insect magazines.
  • Marie Françoise Xavier Bichat. Traité d’anatomie descriptive, in English, 'Treatise on descriptive anatomy published in Paris'. This work laid the foundations of a unified structural terminology.
  • The Aurelian Society meets in London "To form a complete and standard cabinet of the entomological productions of Great Britain:- to ascertain their names, uses, and distinctions:-the places and times of their appearance, food economy and peculiarities :- and to point out to the public the readiest and most desirable methods of destroying such as possess properties that are inimical to the welfare of mankind"
  • First part of Pierre André Latreille's Historie naturelle, générale et particulièredes crustacés et des insects in English, 'General and particular natural history of crustaceans and insects', published in Paris by Dufart. 5817 pp.(14 volumes last published in 1805). In this and succeeding works (1806–1809, 1810, 1825, 1829 Latreille, following Linnaeus, divides the insects into Orders(at first these are called classes), invented the important family concept and also the tribus, proposed the families Asilidae, Muscidae, Syrphidae and Tabanidae (Diptera) as supra generic and erected the insect orders: Parasita, Perliarae, Megaloptera and Panorpatae.
  • Lamarck and Gottfried Reinhold Treviranus, separately proposed term "biology" for the whole science of living things.
  • Pietro Rossi becomes the world's first professor of entomology in Pisa.



  • Johan Christian Fabricius Rhyngotorum secundum ordines…Reichard, Brunsvigae. Published.
  • Adrian Hardy Haworth Lepidoptera Britannica (1803–1828) published. This was the most authoritative work on British butterflies and moths until Henry Tibbats Stainton's Manual in 1857.
  • Johann Rudolph Schellenberg Genres des mouches Diptères représentés en XLII planches projettées, dessinées et expliquées par deux amateurs de l'entomologie published in Zürich.
  • Jakob Heinrich Laspeyres Kritische Revision der neuen Ausgabe des systematischen Verzeichnisses von den Schmetterlingen der Wienergegend.Braunschweig, Karl Reichard.


  • Jacob Hübner Sammlung Europaischer Schmetterlinge, in English, 'Collection of European Butterflies', published in Augsburg.
  • Caspar Erasmus Duftschmid Fauna Austriae, in English, 'Austrian fauna' commenced publication.
  • Jacob Sturm Deutschlands Insecten, Käfer, in English, 'German Insects, Beetles' commenced. This work was not completed until 1856. Like many insect faunal works, this was planned to cover all orders but got no further than beetles.
  • Thomas Marsham. Entomologica Britannica sisterns Insects Britanniae Indigena Secundum Linneum disposita in English, 'British Entomology comprising native British insects disposed (according to) Linnaeus’ second edition. The first British beetle fauna this work treated Coleoptera only.
  • Jean Frederick Hermann Mémoire Aptérologique'published by F.L. Hammerin Strasbourg.



  • Carl August Dohrn born in Germany (States)
  • Anders Gustaf Dahlbom (1806–1859) born in Sweden.
  • Pierre André Latreille Genera Crustaceorum et Insectorum Secundum Ordinem Naturalem in Familias Disposita, Iconibus, Exemplisque Plurimus Explicata 4 vols. Paris 1257pp. commenced, completed 1809. Latreille wrote a series of works each revising his previous classification.
  • Jacob Hübner. Tentamen determinationis, digestionis atque demonstrationis singularum stirpium Lepidopterorum, peritis ad inspiciendum et disjudicandum communicatum. published in Augsberg. In English, the title reads 'Preliminary examination. An attempt to fix, arrange and name the individual races of Lepidoptera to experts for examination and the expression of an opinion'. As its title states, this was a discussion document. Inadvertently published, it led to subsequent nomenclatural confusion.
  • Maximilian Spinola Insectorum Liguriae etc. published in Genoa, Italy.
  • André Marie Constant Duméril, 1806 Analitische Zoologie. Published in both French and German. This was an important text for its methodology of classification.



  • Publication date of Johann Cristoph Friedrich Klug Die Blattwespen nach ihren Gattungen und Arten zusammengestellt. Mag. Ges. Naturf. Freunde, in English, 'The leaf wasps arranged according to their genera and species'.
  • Guillaume-Antoine Olivier Entomologie, ou Histoire naturelle des Insectes. Coléoptères.


  • Lamarck's views on evolution were fully elaborated in his Philosophie zoologique in which he also arranged animals according to relationships and was first to employ the genealogical tree.


Franco Andrea Bonelli.


  • Gustaf von Paykull, Monographia Histeroidum Suecicae published in Upsalla. A monograph is a very complete work on a restricted subject, in this case Histeridae. This is one of the first entomological monographs.
  • Kurimoto Masayoshi Kurimoto's Iconographia Insectorumor Insects of Japan published.


  • Birth of the entomologist Mary Ball.
  • Volume 1 of the Transactions of the Entomological Society of London published (though the Society officially dates from 1832)



  • William Elford Leach, Zoological Miscellany begun at London.
  • Carl Fredrik Fallén, Diptera Sueciae, in English, Diptera of Sweden published at Lund. Fallén's 484 page "Dissertation" this specialist work was published between 1814 and 1825


  • William Elford Leach founded the orders Phasmida, Anoplura, Thysanura and Rhaphidides; the hemipterous families Pentatomidae, Coreidae, Belostomidae; the dipterous family Tipulidae and the hymenopterous family Chrysididae and published the first bibliography of entomology in Brewster's Edinburgh Encyclopedia.
  • William Kirby and William Spence (entomologist), Introduction to entomology or elements of the natural history of insects. 4 vols. London, Longman 2430pp. This masterwork commenced in 1815 and was completed in 1826. It is an outstanding achievement: an entomology and a system of higher units in which Kirby was much influenced by MacLeay. By 1818 it was in its third edition, one of the most popular scientific works of all time.
  • Johann Friedrich Eschscholtz embarks on the Russian expeditionary ship "Rurik"1815-1822
  • Publication of Tome 1 of Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet de Lamarck's Histoire naturelle des animaux sans vertèbres.. completed with Tome 7 in 1822. Paris, Verdiere.


  • Jacob Hübner Verzeichniss bekanuten schmetterlinge,in English, Catalogue of known butterflies published at Augsberg.
  • Marie Jules Cesar Lelorgne de Savigny, Mémoires sur les animaux sans vertèbrespublished at Paris.
  • Henri Marie Ducrotay de Blainville Prodrome d'une nouvelle distribution systématique du règne animal Bull. Soc. Philom. Paris
  • Royal Saxony School of Forestry established at Tharandt. The school taught entomology and later the dipterist Samuel Friedrich Stein became its Director.
  • First issue of Oken's Isis, eine encyclopädische Zeitschrift, vorzüglich für Naturgeschichte, vergleichende Anatomie und Physiologie published.
Thomas Say.


  • First volume of Thomas Say's American entomology published in Philadelphia. The pioneering work of American entomology. Some of the illustrations were undertaken by Titian Peale .
  • Carl Rheinhold Sahlberg, Dissertatio entomologica insecta Fennica enumerans (Coleoptera) commenced. First work on the Coleoptera of Finland. Due to the efforts of Paykull, Leonard Gyllenhaal and Sahlberg the beetles of Scandinavia were better known than in any comparable area at this date.


  • Johann Wilhelm Meigen Systematische Beschreibung der Bekannten Europäischen zweiflugen Insecten 7 vols. Aachen and Hamm 2869pp., in English, Systematic Descriptions of known European Two-winged Insects commenced. The seven volumes spanned the years 1818-1830. Nouvelle classification des mouches à deux ailes. Paris. New classification of the Diptera had already appeared, published in Paris.
  • Carl Gustav Carus Lehrbuch der Zootomie. Leipzig. Lehrbuchs are student texts. This one is on anatomy, mainly dissection.
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Suckow Anatomisch-physiologische Untersuchungen der Insecten und Krustenthiere. 70 S. mit 11 Kupfern. Engelmann, Heidelberg.


  • George Samouelle publishes A nomenclature of British Entomology, or a catalogue of above 4000 species of the Classes Crustacea, Myriapoda, Spiders, Mites and insects intended as labels for cabinets of Insects, etc., alphabetically arranged at London.



  • John Fleming Insecta. In: Supplement to the fourth, fifth and sixth editions of the Encyclopædia Britannica, with preliminary dissertations on the history of the sciencesan important systematic work.



  • Philipp Franz von Siebold begins natural history studies in Japan. Some of his many Japanese students take up entomology. The species they discovered were described in European journals without explicit attribution. They are honoured here. The invertebrate volume of Siebold's Fauna Japonica was undertaken by Wilhem de Haan
  • Johann Wilhelm Dalman 1823, publishes Analeceta Entomologica Stockholm
Constant Duméril.


  • John Curtis with Alexander Henry Haliday and Francis Walker British Entomology, being illustrations and descriptions of the genera of insects found in Great Britain and Ireland; containing coloured figures from nature of the most rare and beautiful species, and in many instances of the plants upon which they are found 16 volumes 193 Folios 770 coloured plates commenced. A masterpiece of the engraver's and colourist's art, this work includes new classifications and many new species descriptions. The work falls between the illustrated works with little text of the previous years and the minimally illustrated revisions and monographs of later years.
  • Leon Jean Marie Dufour, Recherches anatomiques sur les Carabiques et sur plusiers autres Coléoptères.published at Paris.


  • Pierre André Latreille Familles Naturelles du Règne Animal published. In this publication the name Insecta is finally restricted to the hexapod arthropods here called Class Hexapoda.
  • Pierre François Marie Auguste Dejean Species Général des Coléoptères commenced (five volumes devoted to Carabidae) C. Aubé wrote the sixth on Hydrocanthares completing the work in 1838. It is a masterpiece of descriptive entomology.





  • Jean Baptiste Boisduval and John Eatton Le Conte published first installment of Histoire général et iconographie des lepidoptérès et des chenilles de l’Amerique septentrionale at Paris. (English title: General history and illustrations of the Lepidoptera and moths (sic) of North(ern) America.) Publication of installments continued through 1837. [1]
  • Georges Cuvier, Regne Animalium, in English, The Animal Kingdom, published by Chez Deterville at Paris.
  • Hermann Burmeister De Insectorum Systemate Naturali (Diss., Grunert, Halle)
  • Johann Friedrich von Eschscholtz Zoölogische atlas enthaltend abbildungen neuer thierasten während Kotzebues Zweiter reise um die welt gesammelt, in English, Zoological Atlas containing illustrations of the animals collected during Kotzebues etc.. Second travels around the world 1823-1826 published at Berlin.
  • Pierre Lyonet Anatomie de différentes espèces d’insectes published Paris
  • Pierre François Marie Auguste Dejean, Jean Baptiste Boisduval and Charles Nicholas Aubé. Iconographie et histoire naturelle des Coléoptères d’Europe.
  • Alfred Brehm's Tierleben (English title: Brehm's Life of Animals) commenced publication.Very popular it was published in many expanded editions the six volumes published between 1864 and 1869 was titled Illustrirtes Thierleben, Ernst Ludwig Taschenberg wrote the entomological sections.
  • Christian Friedrich Freyer published Beitrage zur Geschichte europaischer Schmetterlinge mit Abbildungen nach der Natur.


  • Controversy between Georges Cuvier and Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire on the fixity of types.
  • Maximilian Perty Delectus Animalium Articulatorum quae in itinere per Brasiliam Annis MDCCCXVII - MDCCCXX Iussu et Auspiciis Maximiliani Josephi I. Bavariae Regis Augustissimi, percato collegerunt Dr J. B. de Spix et Dr. C. F. Ph. de Martius. (completed 1834)





Suites à Buffon. Paris 1834-1863.




  • Oswald Heer published Die Kafer der Schweiz
  • Second edition of John Curtis "A guide to the arrangement of British insects being a catalogue of all the named species hitherto discovered in Great Britain and Ireland " published. The list contains 1500 generic and 15,000 specific names.
  • Carl Gustaf Mannerheim (naturalist) Mémoire sur quelques genres et espèces de Carabiques published.
  • Achille Rémy Percheron publishes Bibliographie entomologique listing more than 5 000 authors and 500 anonymous contributions.



  • John Obadiah Westwood. First part of An introduction to the modern classification of insects. ( 1839–1840) published.
  • John Forbes Royle Illustrations of the Botany and Other Branches of the Natural History of the Himalayan Mountains, and of the Flora of Cashmere published. This work resembles 18th century works in its sumptuous illustration.
  • Meyers Konversations-Lexikon commenced.Entomology was a favourite topic.


  • Étienne Mulsant. Histoire naturelle des Coléoptères de France.13 pts. Paris and Lyon,1839-1863 published.
  • James Francis Stephens Manual of British Coleoptera or Beetles This work contains diagnoses of 3462 species and remained the standard work until the appearance of the Handbook of the Coleoptera by H.E. Cox was published in 1875. An instance of the logevity of some taxonomic works.
  • Alexander Henry Haliday, Hymenopterorum Synopsis and Methodum Fallenii ut plurimum accomodata (Belfast) 8 4pg. s.titulo. This work on classification was privately printed. Very few copies survive. The same is true of many important works of other authors.
  • Edward Newman founded The Entomologist (an insect magazine) at London.
  • Giuseppe Gené De quibusdam insectis Sardiniae novis aut minus cognitis. Fascicle 2. Mem. R. Accad. Sci. Torino (2)1: 43-84





  • Johann Heinrich Kaltenbach. Published Monographie der familien der Pflanzenhauseat Aachen. A monograph on Thysanoptera.
  • Henry Noel Humphreys, an illustrator and John Obadiah Westwood British Moths and their Transformations London: William Smith, 1843-1845. 2 Volumes. Humphreys orchestrated the overall work and provided all illustrations. Westwood provided the various scientific descriptions.
  • Anders Gustaf Dahlbom Hymenoptera Europaea Praecipue Borealia 1-2. Lundberg, Lund 1008 pp. commenced publication (completed 1854)
  • Alcide d'Orbigny began Dictionnaire Universel d'Histoire Naturelle. This work was finished in 1849.


Victor Ivanovitsch Motschulsky.




  • Edmond Ruffin publishes a study of the life history and cultural control of the "Corn or fly-weevil" (Sitotroga cerealella Olivier) in the Farmers Register. Fourteen years later Edmond Ruffin pulled the lanyard on one of the columbiads off Morris Island the first shot fired in the American Civil War but not the first entomologist to engage in violent politics.
  • Hercule Nicolet Essai sur une classification des insectes aptères, de l'ordre des Thysanoures.


Karl Theodor Ernst von Siebold.


See also[edit]