Tag Archives: Africa

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.

sikora-fjn-1890

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.

Sources:
http://www.zobodat.at/biografien/Siebenrock_Friedrich_ex_Zapfe.pdf
Lacroix M. “Hannetons”. http://hannetons.free.fr/page217.html (consulted in 2016)

References:
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.