Pierre F. M. A.
Dejean was THE great
name in coleopterology in the early 19th century. He was a general in the
army who rose to the title of “pair de France,” and he served as
Napoleon’s first aide-de-camp at the battle of Waterloo. Beginning in 1802, he began
a series of catalogs of the species in his collection; the final
edition in 1837 contained more than 22,000 names! These lists were used by
other entomologists to arrange their collections, but it is
important to note that Dejean’s names of new species in his catalogs
are nomina nuda. Dejean was consistently
opposed to the principal of priority in nomenclature, instead
preferring the name most generally used rather than the oldest
one. Although Dejean
may be best known for his five volumes on Carabidae in the Spécies Général des
Coléoptères (1825-1838), he described a number of
Dejean was an ardent
collector and, combined with his purchases and exchanges, brought
together the largest private insect collection of the time. His collecting ardor is
evident from an account by Boisduval (Dejean’s private curator) in
the Annals of the Entomological Society of France (vol. 2, p. 502,
Before the battle of Alcanizas, which Dejean won after a
long-contested fight, taking a great number of prisoners, when the
enemy had just appeared and he was prepared to give the signal of
attack. Dejean, at the
border of a brook caught sight of a Cebrio ustulatus on a
flower. He immediately
dismounted, pinned the insect, applied it to the inside of his
helmet which, for this purpose, was always supplied with pieces of
cork, and started the battle.
After this, Dejean’s helmet was terribly maltreated from
cartouche fire; but, fortunately, he refound his precious Cebrio intact on its piece
Barber, H S and J. C. Bridwell. 1940.
Dejean catalogue names (Coleoptera). Bulletin of the Brooklyn
Entomological Society 35: 1-12.
Lindroth, C. H. 1973. Systematics specializes
between Fabricius and Darwin: 1800-1859, p. 119-154. IN, Smith, R. F., T. E.
Mittler, and C. N. Smith,
History of Entomology.
Annual Reviews Inc., Palo Alto, CA. 517 pp.
Madge, R B. 1988.
The publication dates of Dejean's catalogues. Archives of
Natural History 15: