Johan or Johann Christian Fabricius (1745-1808) Entomologist

Johann Christian Fabricius
(Above Berlin, 1797)

Johan Christian Fabricius (1745-1808)

Danish entomologist, born in Tønder, Denmark on January 7, 1745, and educated at the universities of Copenhagen, Leiden, Edinburgh, Freiberg and Uppsala. He died in Kiel, Germany on March 3, 1808. After studying in Altona and Copenhagen, Fabricius went to Uppsala, Sweden where he studied under Linnaeus, who admired his work. In 1775 he became professor of natural history at the University of Kiel. Although famous for his studies and research in entomology, he was also appointed a professorship of economics and finance at the University of Kiel, in 1775.

He was known for extensive taxonomic research on insects and developed a system for the classification of insects based upon the structure of the mouth parts, rather than upon wing structures. This new system had an important influence on the later development of the science of entomology. He also advanced theoretical propositions that were progressive for the time, particularly his view that new varieties of species could arise through hybridization and by environmental influences on anatomical structure and function.

His most important works include Systema Entomoligiae (1775), Genera insectorum (1776), Philosophia entomologica (1778) Betrachtungen über die allgemeinen Einrichtungen in der Natur (1781) (Considerations upon the Universal Arrangements in Nature), Species insectorum (1781), Entomologia systematica (1792-1798), and Resultate natur historischer Vorlesungen (1804) (Results of Natural History Lectures).

Johan Christian Fabricius
Johan Christian Fabricius

Johann Christian Fabricius
Johann Christian Fabricius
Engraving by G.L. Lahde, 1805
Courtesy of Det Kongelige Bibliotek, Copenhagen


  • Funk and Wagnall's Encyclopedia © 1950
  • The New World Family Encyclopedia, ©1955
  • Encyclopedia Britannica Micropedia, ©1984
  • Johann Christian Fabricius
  • Insektenfibel • Geschichte der Entomologie • Johann Christian Fabricius
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