The complete skimmers and perchers

Ris, F.

Collections Zoologiques du Baron Edm. de Selys Longchamps. Catalogue systématique et descriptif. Libellulinen. [Fasc. IX-XVI(1-2)]. [Complete].

Published 1909-1916
Item ID 76788

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Bruxelles [Brussels], Hayez, 1909-1919. Nine parts in three. Large 4to (31.8 x 24.6 cm). Title page, 1278 pp.; 695 detailed text illustrations, eight fine, chromolithographed plates. Uniform near contemporary half morocco over patterned boards. Spines with five raised bands, gilt bands and title. Brown endpapers. Original printed wrappers bound in.

Written by the Swiss entomologist Friedrich Ris (1867-1931), who was a director of a psychiatric clinic in Rheinau, Switzerland. Part of a larger series, initiated and financially supported by the Belgian entomologist and father of modern odonatology, Baron Michel Edmond de Selys Longchamps (1813-1900). This is the only part dealing with the dragonfly family Libellulidae, the largest dragonfly family in the world, known as skimmers or perchers for their typical behaviour. The illustrations are truly excellent. Several species are described as new. According to Wascher and Dupont, "Selys" shaped the classification of Odonata and described over 700 species, established 134 valid genera within the Odonata. "Importantly, his influence in Odonate studies reached beyond his death. The millions invested in the huge project 'Collections zoologiques Selys Longchamps' made it possible for a next generation within the Odonate community to travel to diverse collections and publish in the spirit of Selys. There are few animal taxa, and fewer groups of insects, whose behaviour and ecology are well enough documented to permit the integrated, taxon-focused treatment attempted in this book. All these facts put the taxonomy of the group on a solid footing and provided the base to make Odonata one the best studied animal groups known" (Wascher and Dupont). As indicated by the title, this work was largely based on Selys's magnificent collection. "More important than these are Ris’ contributions to the taxonomy of Odonata, especially his catalogue of the libellulids of Selys’ collection. This work is called ‘Libellulinen’ according to the taxonomical state at that time, which conceived the family of Libellulidae comprising the subfamilies Libellulinae and Corduliinae. These are now treated as families in their own right, not to mention the related Macromiidae and Synthemistidae. In his diaries Selys mentioned Ris for the first time in December 1885, when the first publication of the juvenile Swiss had been delivered. This seems to have been the origin of their contact. In November 1891 they first met in person, when Ris after his ship voyages came from Berlin to Liège to study the Selys’ collection there on two days and was invited to Longchamps on the second day of the visit, before he travelled home the next day. Apparently Ris sought to amplify his knowledge of exotic Odonata after successfully collecting on his episodes of shore leave. Ris (1909a: 11-12) tells that during this visit he had asked the master, whether a synopsis of the libellulines might be expected from him; Selys however had answered that he because of his age would not compile one; Ris rather might tackle that task himself. Which suggestion he (Ris) later had seen as a kind of legacy" (Fliedner). The third part [Fasc. XI], contains a two-page obituary of Jules-Jean-Joseph Fraipont (1857-1910). Fraipont is perhaps best-known for his work on Okapia. He wrote the section Mammifères-Reptiles-Amphibiens-Poissons of the Collections Selys [Vol. read more
XXXII, 1907]. Publication of the last part was hampered by WWI. Although dated 1916 on the front wrapper, it was actually distributed on the first of March 1919, as stated on the general title to Vol. III. Provenance: tiny stamp of Erich Schmidt on the front pastedown of the first volume. Erich Walther Schmidt (1890-1969) was a German entomologist specialized in Odonata. A second Figure 3, differing principally in having the legend reprinted in a smaller typeface, as to fit on one leaf, with a blank verso, and lacking a page number, loosely inserted next to Fig. 3. Although once bound in, perhaps this loose leaf of a wing was meant for comparing and naming the various wing parts in any species figured. Added (loosely inserted): three pp., in typescript, titled Nachtrag, Nachtrag II and Nachtrag Libellulinae ex Zool. Record pro 1936-37, with additional (i.e., later described) Libellulidae. Several annotations in light pencil, most probably by Schmidt; light shelf wear, otherwise a mint copy. Very rare. We found only one auction record (in 1991). Fliedner, H. (2021) The Scientific Names of Ris' Odonate Taxa. Journal of the International Dragonfly Fund 155; Wascher, M. T. and H. J. Dupont (2013) Life and Work of Michel Edmond de Selys Longchamps ( 1813-1900), the Founder of Odonatology. Odonatologica 42(4). read less

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