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Quatrefages RE: [Annelida] Clymene modesta Quatrefages, 1866 - Erratum

Geoff Read via annelida%40net.bio.net (by Geoffrey.Read from niwa.co.nz)
Tue Nov 13 03:34:32 EST 2012

Dear all,

"Apparently the work was only available in 1866"

That is the current position for the Quatrefages monogs and I go along with it, but I do not think the last word ever has been written on this. A lot of it was already typeset early in 1865. It is a question of when distributed. Wright in Zoo Rec (November 1867, not 1900 as sometimes seen) says not published until northern summer 1866. But he wasn't in France. Was this for all the volumes, even the first? In ICZN Opinion 1225, Pectinaria  etc conserved  (1982) discussion apparently Quatrefages monograph is always 1865. I have a note that Holthuis (1978) could not find an accurate date for it, but it defaulted to 31 December 1865 under the code. I think this is probably a good date to adopt to give the man a fair go against his somewhat cranky contemporaries. I value his work for its comprehensive survey of the state of play at the time.

Wright (1867 p.578) was not a fan, and mentions some "serious shortcomings" of Quatrefages including "describing from examples preserved in spirits".  This was apparently a bad idea back then! However, Quatrefages may be excused as he didn't reside seaside.  It is beneficial today, as we have the types still existing, as listed in Vivianne et als report. Whereas his rival Claparède "deposited no specimens in any Museum" Kristian says in his essay. Uh oh!

Quatrefages wrote (1857 published in English) "The rambles of a naturalist on the coasts of France, Spain, and Sicily", and there said "Now turn to the annelids! What do they lack when compared with the most splendid inhabitants of earth or air? yet they shun the light, they withdraw themselves from our view, but with no design to attract; and the naturalist alone knows where to seek the strange wonders, which are hidden within the recesses of the rock and beneath the sandy beds of the ocean."

'Strange wonders' seems to indicate some enthusiasm for live observation. Quatrefages wasn't just a museum man - he got out there on the shore too.


From: annelida-bounces from oat.bio.indiana.edu [mailto:annelida-bounces from oat.bio.indiana.edu] On Behalf Of Joao Gil
Sent: Tuesday, 13 November 2012 10:18 a.m.
To: 'Jérôme'; annelida from magpie.bio.indiana.edu
Subject: RE: [Annelida] Clymene modesta Quatrefages, 1866 - Erratum

Dear all,

I did an OCR copy of the pdf of the book for myself, and I thought that maybe some of you could be also interested. You can get it by using the following link (it might take a while to upload, at least with my steam powered laptop; the green download button is on the top, at the right):


In fact, the pdf includes also the entire second part of volume 2, being the first part from page 1-336, and the second from 337-794. The explanation of the plates and the 20 plates are at the end of the book, but unfortunately some of the plates were scanned while folded.

Please, note that the publication date of the three volumes is considered to be 1866, in spite of the fact that the 3 volumes have 1865 printed in the front page. Apparently the work was only available in 1866. You can find more information on the publication dates of Quatrefages 'ouvres', as well as a short biography of the artist and the list of the available type material deposited at the MNHN (including the holotype of Clymene modesta - MNHN POLY TYPE 451) at Vivianne's (and collaborators) paper:

Solís-Weiss, V., Y. Bertrand, M.-N. Helléouet & F. Pleijel. 2004. Types of polychaetous annelids at the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris. Zoosystema, 26 (3): 377-384.

Grab your copy here (Zoosystema's site):


There is also an interesting paper by Kristian, where not only Quatrefages is mentioned, but also Claparède's permanent disagreements with Quatrefages' work are explained. If you have used Claparède's publications you are already familiar with statements like "Malheureusement, fort de ses recherches nombreuses et approfondies, l'auteur de l'Histoire naturelle des Annelés a trop souvent oublié qu'il avait eu des prédécesseurs et que des contemporains exploraient avec ardeur le même terrain que lui" (something that still happens today, by the way...).

You can find it for your joy and fulfillment here (I think it is worth a reading):


Fauchald, K. 1989. The second annual Riser lecture: eclectism and the study of polychaetes. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 102 (3): 742-752.

Ok, I hope this helps. Thanks for reading this message.

All the best,


João Gil (PhD)
Carrer d'accés a la Cala Sant Francesc, 14
Email: gil from ceab.csic.es<mailto:gil from ceab.csic.es>
Telef. (34) 972.33.61.01
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