Collectors

Many of these descriptions were based on specimens provided by a new breed of naturalists to the region, the collectors. Some of the first, who made insect-catching trips to South America in the mid-1700s, were Pehr Loefling [1729-1756], Carl Dahlberg [1721-1781], Daniel Rounder [1726-1793], and Daniel Solander [1733-1782].

As travel to and conditions in the colonies improved, the number of collectors quickly increased, as did their range (Lamas 1979, 1981; Papavero 1971, 1973). The majority of these individuals worked independently, and many paid their expenses through the sale of their collections to museums and private collectors in the United States and Europe.

A famous duo of pioneer collectors was Karl von Martius [1794-1868] and Johann von Spix [1781-1826] (Fittkau 1983). In 1817—1820, they traversed much of eastern and Amazonian Brazil, collecting thousands of insects that were studied subsequently by European specialists. A later pair were Osbert Salvin [1835-1898] and Frederick Godman [1834-1919] who traveled widely and amassed specimens in Central America and Mexico in the late 1800s. Their extensive collections were assembled in London, systematically worked up by a number of entomologists, and published in a lengthy series of volumes under the title Biología Centrali-Arnericana (1879-1915), a classic faunal report. Some of the libérés of the infamous French penal colonies in French Guiana from the late 1800s to 1938 made a living by supplying foreign markets with butterflies from the local jungles (Le Moult 1955). Today, many collectors, both commercial and voluntary, continue to provide material to specialists in their own and other countries.

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