About Giovanni Antonio Scopoli: Tyrolean physician and naturalist (1723 - 1788) | Biography, Bibliography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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Giovanni Antonio Scopoli
Tyrolean physician and naturalist

Giovanni Antonio Scopoli

Giovanni Antonio Scopoli
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Tyrolean physician and naturalist
A.K.A. Scopoli, Johannes Antonius Scopolius, Scop.
Was Scientist Botanist Pteridologist Chemist Zoologist Physician Biologist Lepidopterist Arachnologist Mycologist Geologist Professor Educator
From Austria Italy
Field Academia Biology Healthcare Science
Gender male
Birth 3 June 1723, Cavalese, Italy
Death 8 May 1788, Pavia, Italy (aged 64 years)
Star sign Gemini
The details (from wikipedia)


Giovanni Antonio Scopoli (sometimes Latinized as Johannes Antonius Scopolius) (3 June 1723 – 8 May 1788) was an Austrian physician and naturalist. His biographer Otto Guglia named him the "first anational European" and the "Linnaeus of the Austrian Empire".


Scopoli was born at Cavalese in the Val di Fiemme, belonging to the Bishopric of Trent (today's Trentino), the son of a lawyer. He obtained a degree in medicine at University of Innsbruck, and practiced as a doctor in Cavalese and Venice. Much of his time was spent in the Alps, collecting plants and insects, of which he made outstanding collections.

He spent two years as private secretary to the bishop of Seckau, and then was appointed in 1754 as physician of the mercury mines in Idrija, a small town in the Habsburg realm, remaining there until 1769. In 1761, he published De Hydroargyro Idriensi Tentamina on the symptoms of mercury poisoning among mercury miners.

Copper engraving from the Deliciæ Floræ et Faunæ Insubricæ (1786)

Scopoli spent time studying the local natural history, publishing Flora Carniolica (1760) as well as a major work on the insects of Carniola, Entomologia Carniolica (1763). He also published a series of Anni Historico-Naturales (1769–72), which included first descriptions of birds from various collections.

In 1769, Scopoli was appointed a professor of chemistry and metallurgy at Mining Academy at Schemnitz (now Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia), and in 1777 transferred to the University of Pavia. He became a bitter rival of Lazzaro Spallanzani, who was accused of stealing specimens from the Pavia museum. Spallanzani was tried and the prolonged trial resulted in acquittal. Shortly thereafter, Scopoli died of a stroke. His last work was Deliciae Flora et Fauna Insubricae (1786–88), which included scientific names for birds and mammals in northwestern Italy described by Pierre Sonnerat in the accounts of his voyages.

Scopoli corresponded with Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist who laid the foundations of modern taxonomy. Scopoli communicated all of his research, findings, and descriptions (for example of the olm and the dormouse, two little animals hitherto unknown to Linnaeus). Linnaeus greatly respected him and showed great interest in his work. Because of a great distance, they never met.

Scopoli is frequently mentioned by Gilbert White in his "Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne".


Flora Carniolica (1760)
  • Flora Carniolica (1760) — a flora of Carniola, part of modern-day Slovenia
  • De Hydroargyro Idriensi Tentamina (1761) — a medical work on the symptoms of mercury poisoning among miners.
  • Entomologia Carniolica. Vienna: 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 Universitätsbibliothek Riga (1769). In German. Doctoral Thesis.
  • Anni Historico-Naturales (1769—72) — This work included descriptions of new birds.
  • 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 further 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 taxa named by Scopoli

  • Battus 1777 — Swallowtail butterfly (Papilionidae) genus, South America
  • Rhagonycha fulva 1763 – a soldier beetle (Cantharidae), Europe
  • Cucujus cinnaberinus 1763 – the flat bark beetle (Cucujidae), Europe
  • Osmoderma eremita 1763 – the hermit beetle (Scarabaeidae), Europe
  • Sargus bipunctatus 1763 – a soldier fly species (Diptera), Europe
  • Bombus pascuorum 1763 – a 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
  • Amanita caesarea — the edible and highly prized Caesar's mushroom
  • Laccaria laccata — the deceiver mushroom
  • Order Caudata – the salamanders: a major grouping of Amphibians
  • Dolichovespula sylvestris 1763 – tree wasp, Europe and Asia

Some taxa dedicated to Scopoli

  • Scopolia, a genus of plants, and the alkaloid scopolamine isolated from such plants
  • Scopolia, a genus of moths
  • Cerambyx scopolii (Fuessly, 1775) – a longhorn beetle (Cerambycidae), Europe
  • Dorcadion scopolii (Herbst, 1784) – a longhorn beetle (Cerambycidae), Europe
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 09 Mar 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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