Johann Christian Fabricius - Encyclopedia




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JOHANN CHRISTIAN FABRICIUS (1745-1808), Danish entomologist and economist, was born at Tondern in Schleswig on the 7th of January 1745. After studying at Altona and Copenhagen, he was sent to Upsala, where he attended the lectures of Linnaeus. He devoted his attention professionally to political economy, and, after lecturing on that subject in 1769, was appointed in 1775 professor of natural history, economy and finance at Kiel, in which capacity he wrote various works, chiefly referring to Denmark, and of no special interest. He also published a few other works on general and natural history, botany and travel (including Rcise each Norwegen, 177 9), and, although his professional stipend was small, he extended his personal researches into every town in northern and central Europe where a natural history museum was to be found. It is as an entomologist that his memory survives, and for many years his great scientific reputation rested upon the system of classification which he founded upon the structure of the mouthorgans instead of the wings. He had a keen eye for specific differences, and possessed the art of terse and accurate description. He died on the 3rd of March 1808.

A complete list of his entomological publications (31) will be found in Hagen's Bibliotheca Entomologiae; the following are the chief : - Systema Entomologiae (1775); Genera Insectorum (1776); Philosophia Entomologica (1778); Species insectorum (1781); Mantissa Insectorum (1787); Entomologia Systematica (1792-1794), with a supplement (1798); Systema Eleulheratorum (1801), Rhyngotorum (1803), Piezatorum (1804), and Antliatorum (1805). Full particulars of his life will be found, with a portrait, in the Transactions of the Entomological Society of London (1845), 4, pp. i-xvi, where his autobiography is translated from the Danish.

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