Naturalists

Following the chroniclers onto the scene were the naturalists, distinguished from the former by possessing some education in the biological sciences. An early example was George Marcgrave [1610—1644], who, during the Dutch invasion of Brazil in 1638—1644, traveled widely and studied insects in that country. An important edition of his works, citing many indigenous insects, was published in 1648 by one of his traveling companions, Guilielmus Piso, in De Indiae Utriusque re Naturali et Medica Libri XIV.

Following her ten-year stay (1690-1701) in Surinam, where she collected information on insect life histories, Madame Maria Sybilla Merian [1647-1717] (fig. 1.3) produced her famous Metamorphoses Insectorum Surinamensium (1705), with superbly done color plates (Erlanger 1976). The work contained some errors, including a confusion of the headlight beetles (Pyrophorus), cicadas, and dragon-headed bugs (Fulgora), that engendered misconceptions of the lat-ter's ability to luminesce and stridulate which persist even today (one plate actually shows a mongrel insect, a cicada, bearing the head of Fulgora) (Frontispiece).

Later naturalists, following in this tradition and notable for significant observations on Latin American insects, were Hans Sloane, A Voyage to the Islands Madera, Barbadoes, Nieves, St. Christophers and Jamaica (1707, 1725); G. Gardner, Travels in

Figure 1.3 Maria Sybilla Merian, famous for her observations of insect natural history in the Guianas in the seventeenth century. (Frontispiece from her botanical work, Erucarum horten-sis .. ., Amsterdam, 1718)

the Interior of Brazil (1849); Thomas Belt, A Naturalist in Nicaragua (1874); Theodore Roosevelt, Through the Brazilian Wilderness (1914); Konrad Guenther, A Naturalist in Brazil (1931); R. Hingston, A Naturalist in the Guiana Forest (1932); and others.

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