Author Archives: caudibert

Moitessier and Paladilhe: collections

Prosper-Antoine Moitessier (1807-1867) is more famous for having been an organ builder. He wrote some papers relative to malacology and his collection was sold to the dealer Damon in 1867 (after Dance, 1966). Maybe a part of the Moitessier’s collection is housed into the collections of the Natural History Museum (NHMUK).
In 1880’s, Georges Coutagne was preparing his revision of the genus Moitessieria. He wrote to almost all malacologists having representatives of this genus in their collection, and tried to check all types. The localisation of “old” collections was therefore required.
Within this context, Coutagne wrote to Albert Moitessier (1833-1889), son of Prosper-Antoine. He was a medical doctor, and professor at the University of Montpellier. However, Albert Moitessier had sold the collection of his father, without remembering the name of the purchaser. He proposed to find the collections of some very close relations of his father in malacology as Dr. Paladilhe and Dubreuil.

“Montpellier, 3 février 1882
Monsieur, je regrette bien vivement de ne pouvoir vous venir en aide dans votre travail. La collection de mon père n’est plus en ma possession. Elle a été vendue, à l’époque de sa mort en Angleterre, et je n’en ai conservé, comme souvenir, que quelques coquilles sans intérêt scientifique. Les quelques espèces du genre Moitessieria, que j’aurais désiré conserver, n’ont pu m’être cédées, à aucune condition par l’acquéreur, qui paraissaient y tenir beaucoup.
Je puis cependant vous donner un renseignement, bien vague sans doute et probablement inutile, mais qui vous permettrait peut-être de retrouver quelques espèces de ce genre, mon père avait pour ami le docteur Paladilhe, amateur passionné et heureux dans la recherche des petites espèces. Mr Paladilhe est mort en laissant une collection fort intéressante. J’ignore ce qu’est devenue cette collection car la famille a quitté Montpellier. Je ne pense pas toutefois que cette collection ait été détruite car elle ne renfermait rien de séduisant pour les yeux incompétents. Il me serait peut-être possible d’en retrouver la trace et je me mets à votre disposition pour rechercher ce qu’elle est devenue. J’ignore toutefois si elle renfermait la M. gervaisiana.
Peut-être, aussi, pourriez-vous avoir quelques indications auprès de Mr. Dubrueil de Montpellier, qui avait des relations avec Paladilhe. Mr Dubrueil possède une intéressante collection de mollusques terrestres et fluviatiles de France. Il ne serait pas impossible qu’il ait recueilli quelques espèces de la succession Paladilhe.
Agréez, je vous prie, l’expression de les sentiments distingués.
A. Moitessier”


001 [1]

The collection of Paladilhe is housed in University of Montpellier.

[1] Musée des Confluences, Centre de conservation et d’étude des collections, Lyon

Dance SP. 1966. Shell collecting. An illustrated history. Los Angeles/Berkely: University of California Press, 345 pp.





Use of eponyms in the Société malacologique de France

The principles of the Bourguignat’s « Nouvelle Ecole » are explained in the introduction of the first volume of the Bulletins (with s) de la Société malacologique de France (SMF), created in reaction of the Journal de Conchyliologie co-edited by Hippolyte Crosse & Paul-Henri Fischer. Nearly 700 species were described in the 7 volumes of Bulletins, during 1884 to 1890 (Bourguignat died in 1892). Of these 700 species, 65 % were described by the founders of the Bulletins (Ancey, Bourguignat, Caziot, Fagot, Letourneux, Hagenmüller, Locard, Mabille, Poirier, Rochebrune, Saint-Simon, and Servain) and 22 % by associated members (e.g., Bofill, Euthyme, Florence and Jousseaume). But effectively, many descriptions were published under the responsability of Bourguignat, Locard or Fagot. For example: with some associates (e.g., Pechaud) or foreign correspondants took La Rédaction the liberty to adapt the text with the criteria of the Nouvelle Ecole. The writing style of Bourguignat or Servain can be seen in many papers and we know that Bourguignat used pseudonyms* or added informations without notice the author (read for example : « Mélanges et Nouvelles » published in Magasin de Zoologie pure et appliquée (v. 18 – 1866) in which we learn that Bourguignat modified the original text of Paladilhe to insert personal attacks against Gassies). Many diagnoses or descriptive texts are manuscripts of Bourguignat or can be attributed to Bourguignat. The Excursions malacologiques are an opus of Bourguignat for 90 % (some parts in quotation marks, other parts without quotation marks but the text still can be attributed to Bourguignat). Returning to the Bulletins, it is obvious in particular with the foreign contributors that the role of the Rédaction is very important.

Compare for example, the text of Schröder (SMF, vol. 2 : 215): « Cette espèce, du groupe de l’intermedia, à laquelle M. Bourguignat a bien voulu attribuer mon prénom, se trouve… » with Silva e Castro (SMF, vol. 2 : 278): « Cette espèce, de la série des Ventricosiana, à laquelle M. Bourguignat a bien voulu attribuer mon prénom, a été recueillie … ». These two articles are presented exactly in the same way (e.g. compare p. 216 and 278)! Very often the papers included descriptions of Bourguignat & cie (in sched., in litteris, Bourg. mss, etc.) and very often one of the new species is an eponym.

Example: Jousseaume (SMF, vol. 7: 81): Ovatella jousseaumei Bourg. In litt (p. 93) and Coelestele Bourguignati (p. 95); or Bourguignat (SMF, vol. 2 : 141): Tiphobia jouberti Bourg. (p. 146) and Tiphobia bourguignati Joubert. In litt (p. 148). We may regards these as little gifts between friends…

We have even the case of a paper (Servain, SMF, vol. 7: 281) in which a new genus and a new species are described by Bourguignat: Chambardia letourneuxi (dedicaced to Chambard and Letourneux) included a Chambardia bourguignati described by Letourneux; hence Chambardia bourguignati Letourneux in Bourguignat in Servain would be the full citation! These multiple eponyms are frequent inside the same publication. One of most famous is the « Monographies des genres Pechaudia and Hagenmulleria découverts en Algérie » by Bourguignat in 1881 in which are described all combinations : Pechaudia letourneuxiana, Hagenmulleria pechaudi, Hagenmulleria letourneuxi, Lhotelleria pechaudi, Lhotelleria letourneuxi. In SMF, vol. 4, Hagenmüller has dedicated four « letourneuxi », one in each new genus (Chancelia, Delevieleusia, Faudelia, Tetraspis) of his publication with this comment:


In the SMF volumes, we can find more than 60 eponyms for founders of the SMF, of which one third for Bourguignat! Nearly 160 different people received at least one eponym; in total nearly 250 names are eponyms, this is 35 % of the new names introduced in these volumes.


In addition, we see that a part of these eponyms had been choosen from the first name and/or to thank a malacologist’s wife:
Anodonta reneana Pechaud (SMF, vol. 1) to Jules-René Bourguignat
Anodonta richardi Bourguignat (SMF, col. 2) to Richard Schröder
Anodonta josei Bourguignat (SMF, vol. 2) to José da Silva e Castro
Digyreideum renei Letourneux (SMF, vol. 4) to Jules-René Bourguignat
Limnaea mongazonae Servain (SMF, vol. 4) to Mme Alix Servain (borned Loir-Mongazon)
Physa alixiana Servain (SMF, vol. 4) id.
Unio mongazonae Servain (SMF, vol. 4) id.
Valvata mongazoniana Servain (SMF, vol. 4) id.
Pedipes leoniae Ancey (SMF, vol. 4) to Mme Léonie Deschamps (wife of Mr Deschamps)
Pedipes deschampsi Ancey (SMF, vol. 4) id
Bulimus arnouldi Sayn (SMF, vol. 5) to Arnould Locard
Helix biagioi Bourguignat (SMF, vol. 5) to Biagio Kléciak

Visualised as a network, the (co-)authors and the persons they awarded eponyms is shown below:



* e.g. Servain (1891): “Les travaux de notre Collègue sont nombreux : ils atteignent le chiffre de cent quinze. Eh bien ! ces ouvrages forment à peine la moitié ce qu’il a fait paraître ou en volumes séparés, ou des Revues, voire même dans des journaux, soit sous le nom de ses amis, soit sous des pseudonymes, soit sous des astérisques”.

Sikora: an Austrian dealer based in Reunion

Franz Sikora (1863–1902) was an Austrian collector and dealer.

He was born on 12 January 1863 in Stockerau, near Vienna, Austria. As a youngster, he left Austria for Africa, where he married with Marie Amalie Teia in Zanzibar and moved to Reunion with his family. He explored Reunion island (Cilaos, Saint-Leu etc.) and collected many zoological specimens which he sold to different buyers in Europe.

During seven years from end of 1880s, he was entrusted with a scientifical mission by the Austrian gouverment; he lived in Antananarivo or Tananarive (Madagascar) and he frequented the Protestant mission based in Andrangoloaka (Battistini & Richard-V., 1972) from where he brought back important collects (insects, plants, shells…). After Beolens et al. (2011): “he discovered some remains of giant lemurs and early human settlers at Andrahomana Cave, Madagascar (1899)”. He was in contact with Alfred Grandidier (1836-1921), a great naturalist who explored Madagascar as nobody else (His Histoire physique, naturelle et politique de Madagascar count ab. 30 vol.). We know that Sikora took many photographs of plants, and several photographs were given to Grandidier (e.g. the plant Pachypodium ramosum wlas described on a specimen of Grandidier and on a photograph that Sikora who had given him) and conserved in his herbarium (MNHN). Some photographs taken by Sikora are present in the photographic library Grandidier in ORSTOM (Feller & Sandron, 2010).

After his stay in Tananarive, he moved to Fort-Dauphin before returning to Reunion until his death.

He worked with some museums (e.g., Wien, MNHN, BMNH, Turin). Various animals, vertebrates and invertebrates, were named after him; included two molluscs: Ampelita sikorae Ancey, 1890 and Cyclostoma sikorae Fulton, 1901.


Example of publicity in the Feuille des Jeunes Naturalistes

He died in Reunion Island in May 1902, but the day and the locality seemed unknown until now. The Ultramarine Archives (ANOM) on line allowed to find these information, in searching for each municipality one after the other! It appeares he died on 23 May 1902 in La Plaine-des-Palmistes (Reunion Isl.). The act is written in French, the name is francized: François Sikora. We learn also he was in resort since two years in this municipality and was known there as naturalist.

Lacroix M. “Hannetons”. (consulted in 2016)

Beolens B, Watkins M, Grayson M. 2011. The eponym dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1–296 (Sikora: p. 243).
Battistini R., Richard-Vindard G. 1972. Biogeography and Ecology in Madagascar. The Hague, Springer-Science, 765 p.
Feller C., Sandron F. 2010. Parcours de recherche à Madagascar. L’IRD-Orstom et ses partenaires.Marseille, IRD, 424 p.

Lamare-Picquot: collection

Lamare-Picquot (1785-1873) is a famous french explorator: Mauritius, Indes, Turkey, and also North America from where he tried to introduce in Europe some species, e.g., Psoralea esculenta (the “Picquotiane”) instead potatoes… Lamare-Picquot was a great naturalist, also ethnologist, correspondent of Academy of Sciences and of the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle, in Paris. He obtained some fame because of his theory that reptiles could suckle the milk from udder, a theory classified under the category “prejudices”, by Duméril and Bibron. Lamare-Picquot has given many collections to MNHN, while others were sold (e.g., to BMNH) to finance his voyages.

According to Chaigneau (1982), who consulted the National Archives (AJ 15-548), we learn that his zoological collections were shared at the end of his life between MNHN and different universities:


In Lyon University, we found in the general collection a shell, which was apparently obtained by this sharing in 1865.

dsc_9847 [1]

[1] Coll. UCBL
I thank Mrs. Blandine Bartschi for welcoming us.

Chaigneau M. 1982. Christophe-Augustin Lamare-Picquot, pharmacien, naturaliste, explorateur. Revue d’Histoire de la Pharmacie 70 (252): 5–26.

Miot: bio, collection

Henri (or Henry) Calixte Miot (1841-1938) was linked by his family ties to the Diderot family, and hence to the famous encyclopedist Diderot. He was born on 3 June 1841 in Langres (France, Haute-Marne) in a family of lawyers. His major commitment in his career was about justice, and also the protection of animals. In particular he wrote a little book on the legal implementation of animal protection (domestic animals mistreated) (Miot, 1870b). Member of the Société protectrice des Animaux, he was convinced (just as Duméril) that the birds, the reptiles and the insects were useful to regulate the populations of the insect pests, and that we need to protect them (Miot, 1870a).

Settled in the surroundings of Dijon, he was in the magistracy as substitute for the Imperial Prosecutor in Semur-en-Auxois (France, Côte-d’Or), and later as investigating judge in Beaune. He was also a great collector. We know in particular that he was interested in philately [1] and in bibliophily. In natural sciences, he was interested in entomology, geology and malacology. His collection is housed in the geological collections of the University of Burgundy (UBG).


It consists of seven drawers exclusively dedicated to Unionid shells, with some Cyclas and Corbicula species (233 lots). The material originates from North America (United States and Canada), Africa and Middle-East (Gabon, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq) and Europa (Spain, France and Italy). The majority of the specimens is from France, and their provenance shows they originate from the Drouët collection. Henri Drouët (1829-1900) was an administrator and a famous conchologist specialized in the Unionidae family, living in Troyes before moving to Dijon. The two persons were in close connection but probably only at the end of Drouët’s life. He mentioned him for the first time in 1898 in Unionidés du Bassin de la Seine, and probably he did not have time to give him an eponym. Besides Drouët, some other collectors appears in the provenance data of his collection, such as Léon Provancher (1820-1892) and Mr. Pétot.





I thank Mrs. Monique Léquy for the information kindly provided.
[2] Provided by courtesy of Guy Peaudecerf. Henri Miot
Ex libris & collectis. C. Audibert, private collection.
Signature in a dedication inside a book (British Museum)

Audibert C, Thomas J. 2014. Une autre collection de mulettes de Drouët à l’université de Bourgogne : la collection “Henri Miot”. Folia Conchyliologica 27: 4–7.
Miot H. 1870a. Les insectes auxiliaires et les insectes utiles. Paris: Librairie agricole, 1–101.
Miot H. 1870b.
De la répression des mauvais traitements exercé envers les animaux domestiques. Commentaire de la loi des 2-9 juillet 1850 (loi Grammont). Paris: Librairie agricole, 1–24, 1 pl.

Moricand: a letter in a book

A large collection of reprints and separata are owned by the library of the Centre de conservation et d’étude des collections in Lyon. Reading a binded volume of miscellanea of Stefano Moricand (1779-1854), we found inside a letter written by Moricand addressed to Ange-Paulin Terver (1798-1875). The handwritting style is quite similar to his correspondant, with a minute handwritting and thick downstrokes.

The letter is dated on 21 May, 1836, and reads as follows.

“Monsieur, j’ai reçu dans le temps l’ouvrage de Mr. Michaud que vous avez bien voulu m’envoyer ; qui m’a fait grand plaisir. Ayant inutilement cherché et attendu une occasion pour vous faire passer mes petits mémoires & craignant que mon silence en se prolongeant se pût être mal interprété, je me décide à vous les envoyer par la messagerie, ils vous serviront de catalogue pour vos desiderata, car je ne crois pas avoir conservé de note de ce que je vous ai envoyé. Quand vous recevrez vos coquilles d’Alger je me recommande à votre bon souvenir; je vous prie d’agréer l’assurance de mon (ill.) dévouement. Stefano Morricand” [signed with double r].



The interpretation of this letter sheds a new light on the activities of Terver. As collaborator of Michaud, he drew the lithographs for the Supplement to Draparnaud (Michaud 1831); this was likely the book sent to Moricand. Terver was apparently preparing his study of the Algerian fauna (which was published in 1839). From the letter is becomes obvious that Moricand and Terver exchanged not only books but also shells. And finally, we learn that the catalogues of Moricand (1834, 1836) were likely to be used to mark the oblata!

[1] Source: CCEC.

Michaud G. 1831. Complément de l’Histoire naturelle des Mollusques terrestres et fluviatiles de la France, de J. P. R. Draparnaud. Paris / Montpellier, 1–128, pl. XIV-XVI.
Moricand S. 1834. Note sur quelques espèces nouvelles de coquilles terrestres. Mémoires de la Société de Physique et d’Histoire naturelle de Genève 6: 537-543, pl. I.
Moricand S. 1836. Mémoire sur les coquilles terrestres et fluviatiles envoyées de Bahia par M. S. Blanchet. Mémoires de la Société de Physique et d’Histoire naturelle de Genève 7 (2): 415-446, pl. II.
Terver A-P. 1839. Catalogue des Mollusques terrestres et fluviatiles observés dans les possessions françaises au nord de l’Afrique. Paris / Lyon: J.-B. Baillière, Crochard & Savy, 1–39, 4 pl.

An unknown women shell collector

There are probably a lot more people who could be added to the list of 2400 years malacology (Coan & Kabat, 2016). E.g., we found a letter and a postcard, sent in 1880s, from a British women named Fanny Maria Hele. She was interested in mineralogy and land and marine conchology, and there is evidence that she tried to enlarge her collection by exchange and purchase of shells. She lived in Fairlight, Elmgrove Road, Bristol, England. Her name regularly appears in the Hardwicke’s Science-Gossip journal, at the section “Exchanges”. E.g.:

Capture d’écran 2016-08-30 à 00.20.39

(1875: 168)

Capture d’écran 2016-08-30 à 00.17.49 (1875: 283)

The letter is dated on July 14, 1882 and is written in a bad French, probably to the Italian malacologist Del Prete. In the letter both a mineral and land shells are mentioned:

Numériser 2

Numériser 1

“Cher Monsieur,

Je suis très obligé pour votre lettre. Quand la Posse Parcelle est etablie dans Angleterre j’envoyerai vous une bonne boîte de coquilles. Je vous envoye cette pour la lettre Anglais. Je recevre de Londres disant que cette Posse Parcelle sera pour toute la continent aussi de notre pays.

Il n’est pas encore etablée. Il sera dans deux ou trois mois temps. Je serai alors capable d’envoyerent six livres (Lei il peso d’una libra) pour environ deux francs a la continent.

J’ai grand adminration pour votre Clausilia et belle grand Helix. La mineral je desire est la precieux (berillo gemma). Avec mes bonnes egards et mes dévoués.

Je suis, Cher Monsieur, vous (ill.) Fanny Maria Hele”.


The postcard is dated on 16 June, 1887. It was addressed to Raimondo del Prete, in Viareggio, Italy:

Numériser 4

Numériser 3

“Bristol June 16-87

J’oublie dire deux Isocardia cors ils étaient rompre en plusieurs morceaux. La Volute Angulata est très belle. Avez vous une seconde en doublon (donnez moi – J’envoyais votre desiderata (et 36 plus). Hier au soir – Plusieurs très rare species. Avez vous votre (Mediterranean Sea) (Mers) Cardium Intercostatum dans doubles avec bonnes Egards. Je suis votre (ill.) F. M. Hele.”

Dance S. Peter 2013. Fanny M. Hele and the var. exalbida. Mollusc World, 12: 18 (portr.) [here]

[1] Source: Audibert, private collection