My watch list  

Johann Friedrich von Eschscholtz

Johann Friedrich von Eschscholtz

BornNovember 1, 1793
DiedMay 19, 1831
CitizenshipRussian Empire
EthnicityBaltic German
Alma materUniversity of Tartu
Botany auth. abbrev.Eschsch.

Johann Friedrich Eschscholtz (1 November 1793 - 19 May 1831) was an Estonian physician, botanist, zoologist and entomologist. Eschscholtz was a Baltic German.

Tartu (then Dorpat) is now in Estonia (but then belonged to the Russian Empire). Eschscholtz studied medicine at the local University of Tartu, and spent his main career there as well: extraordinary professor of anatomy (1819), director of the zoological cabinet (1822), professor of anatomy 1828.

From 1815-1818 he was ship physician and naturalist on the Russian circumnavigational expeditionary ship “Rurik” under the command of Otto von Kotzebue . He collected in Brazil, Chile, California, the Pacific Islands, and on either side of the Bering Straits, Kamchatka and the Aleutian Islands.

The other naturalist was the botanist Adelbert von Chamisso who took over Eschscholtz’ specimens, excepting insects on completion of the voyage. The two were close friends and Chamisso named the California poppy Eschscholtzia californica in his honour.

The results of the trip were published in the Berlin journal Entomographien in 1822.

From 1823-1826 Eschscholtz went on a second circumnavigational voyage, this time on the ship "Predpriaetie” or “Enterprise” . Again Otto von Kotzebue was the commander. Large collections, mainly of Coleoptera, were made in the tropics and at Unalaska, Sitka and in California.

Before his early death Eschscholtz visited the French coleopterist Pierre François Marie Auguste Dejean. Eschscholtz described the Coleoptera he had collected using Dejean’s collection to decide which were new. The binomial names he gave them as well the descriptions were published by Dejean after Eschscholtz' death. These were attributed to Eschscholtz by Dejean but the rules of nomenclature were later properly, but very unfortunately, employed to exclude him. Perhaps these species should be reattributed “Eschscholtz in Dejean”.

He was one of the first and most important scientists in the exploration of the Pacific, Alaska, and California. Among his publications were the System der Akalephen (1829), and the Zoologischer Atlas (1829 - 1833). Eschscholtz was the first naturalist to describe the acorn worm (Balanoglossus), which he encountered in the Marshall Islands in 1825.

Kotzebue named an island in the Marshall Islands as Eschscholtz Atoll. This was renamed in 1946 to Bikini Atoll. Kotzebue also named a small bay east of Kotzebue Sound after Eschscholtz.

His insect collections are in the Zoological Museum in Moscow , and in the museums of Dorpat and Helsinki.


  • 1931 Essig, E. O., History of Entomology.
  • 1995 Pont, A. C., Steenstrupia Copenhagen 21: 125 - 154 [11808].
  • Wikipedia article on botanists (now merged).

{{Persondata NAME=Johann Friedrich von Eschscholtz ALTERNATIVE NAMES= SHORT DESCRIPTION=naturalist DATE OF BIRTH=November 1 1793 PLACE OF BIRTH= DATE OF DEATH=May 19 1831 PLACE OF DEATH=}}

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Johann_Friedrich_von_Eschscholtz". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE