Margins of Cladistics: Identity, Difference and Place in the Emergence of Phylogenetic Systematics 1864 – 1975

  • Robin Craw
Part of the Australasian Studies in History and Philosophy of Science book series (AUST, volume 11)


In 1929 the Russian emigre writer Vladimir Nabokov received the equivalent of US$8000 from contracts and newspaper articles. In his own words “he blew it all” on a butterfly collecting trip, his first in ten years. In February, 1930 Nabokov and his partner traveled south to the Pyrenees, collected Lepidoptera for 4 months, returning to Berlin in June. Nabokov took his specimens to be identified at the Deutsches Entomlogisches Institut at Dahlem on the outskirts of Berlin. In his paper describing this expedition he thanked Dr Walter Horn, the Director for his help.1 But Nabokov was less than flattering about German entomological systematics. In his autobiography “Speak, Memory” he writes:

“Great upheavals were taking place in the development of systematics. Since the middle of the [19th] century, Continental lepidopterology had been, on the whole, a simple and stable affair, smoothly run by the Germans. Its high priest, Dr Staudinger, was also the head of the largest firm of insect dealers. Even now, half a century after his death, German lepidopterists have not quite managed to shake off the hypnotic spell occasioned by his authority. He was still alive when his school began to lose ground as a scientific force in the world.


Phylogenetic Reconstruction Argumentation Scheme Gall Midge Continental Drift Extant Taxon 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin Craw
    • 1
  1. 1.DSIR Plant Protection UnitAucklandNew Zealand

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