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Giovanni Antonio Scopoli

 Giovanni Antonio Scopoli (sometimes latinized as Johannes Antonius Scopoli) (June 3, 1723 – May 8, 1788) was an Italian-Austrian physician and naturalist.



Scopoli was born at Cavalese in the Val di Fiemme of Tyrol, the son of a lawyer. He obtained a degree in medicine at University of Innsbruck, and practiced as a doctor in Cavalese and Venice.[1] Much of his time was spent collecting plants and insects in the Alps. He spent two years as private secretary to the Count of Seckan, and then was appointed as physician of the mercury mines in Idrija, a small town in western Slovenia, remaining there for sixteen years. In 1761 he published De Hydroargyro Idriensi Tentamina on the symptoms of mercury poisoning among miners.  

Scopoli spent time studying the local natural history, publishing Flora Carniolica (1760) as well as a major work on entomology. He also published Anni Historico-Naturales (1769-72), which included descriptions of new birds from various collections.[1] His last work was Deliciae Flora et Fauna Insubricae (1786-88), which included scientific names for birds and mammals described by Pierre Sonnerat in the accounts of his voyages.

The plant alkaloid and drug Scopolamine is named after the genus Scopolia which is named after him. The standard botanical author abbreviation Scop. is applied to species he described.


  • Flora Carniolica (1760) – a flora of Krain, Austria
  • De Hydroargyro Idriensi Tentamina (1761) -a medical work on the symptoms of mercury poisoning among miners.
  • Entomologia Carniolica Vindobonae,Trattner. (1763)- a major work on entomology containing many descriptions of new species.
  • Joh. Ant. Scopoli der Arzneywissenschaft Doktors, Ihro ... Majest. Cameralphysici in der Bergstadt Idria ... Einleitung zur Kenntniß und Gebrauch der Foßilien, Hartknoch4031 Göttingen : Niedersächsische Staats- und UniversitätsbibliothekRiga (1769). In German. Doctoral Thesis.
  • Anni Historico-Naturales (1769-72) This work included descriptions of new birds.
  • Flora Carniolica exhibens plantas Carnioliae indigenas et distributas in classes, genera, species, varietates, ordine Linnaeano (1772). – A revised second edition of the first elaborate description of the flora of Krain, Austria, undertaken when Scopoli lived in Idrija. It has 66 engraved plates by J.F. Rein after original drawings by the Scopoli. Whereas the first edition of 1760 (with c. 600 pages only and not illustrated) had no binary names for the plant species, this edition has binary names and is written in the Linnaean tradition in all other respects as well.
  • Introductio ad historiam naturalem, sistens genera lapidum, plantarum et animalium hactenus detecta, caracteribus essentialibus donata, in tribus divisa, subinde ad leges naturae. Prague. (1777) – masterwork of natural history describing world genera and species.
  • Fundamenta Botanica Praelectionibus publicis accomodata. Papiae, S. Salvatoris (1783)- A botanical classic with ten engraved plates each depicting ten to sixteen exact drawings.
  • With Pierre Joseph Macquer, - Dizionario di chimica del Sig. Pietro Giuseppe Macquer…Tradotto dal francese e corredato di note e di nuovi articoli... Pavia: printed at the Monastery of San Salvatore for G. Bianchi (1783-84) -The chemist Joseph Macquer's Dictionnaire de chymie, the first dictionary of theoretical and general chemistry was written it in haste and concerned about his reputation, Macquer published it anonymously in 1766. Its huge success prompted the preparation of a revised second edition (1778). Then Scopoli translated and extensively augmented it. A second edition of the translated work, without fuurther additions was published in Venice in 1784-85.
  • Deliciae Flora et Fauna Insubricae Ticini (1786-88) – an account including new descriptions of the birds and mammals collected by Pierre Sonnerat on his voyages.

Some insect taxa named by Scopoli

  • Battus 1777 – Swallowtail butterfly (Papilionidae) genus, South America
  • Rhagonycha fulva 1763 Soldier beetle (Cantharidae), Europe
  • Sargus bipunctatus 1763 Soldier Fly species (Diptera), Europe
  • Megabombus pascuorum 1763 Bumble bee species (Hymenoptera), Europe
  • Aphis fabae 1763 Bean Aphid Hemiptera Worldwide
  • Ordo Proboscidea 1763 Thrips, cicadas and Hemiptera- a major grouping proposed in Entomologia Carniolica


  1. ^ a b Newton, Alfred 1881. Scopoli's ornithological papers. The Willughby Society. Scanned version


  • Full list of biographies given by Gaedike, R. & Groll, E.K. eds. 2001 Entomologen der Welt (Biographien, Sammlungsverbleib). Datenbank, DEI Eberswalde im ZALF e.V
  • Baker, D.B. 1999. The localities of Scopoli’s Entomologia Carniolica (1763) Entomologist’s Gazette, 50: 188-198.
  • A Concise History of Ornithology, Michael Walters ISBN 1-873403-97-6
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Giovanni_Antonio_Scopoli". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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