Johann Friedrich Gmelin

Johann Friedrich Gmelin (8 August 1748 – 1 November 1804) was a German naturalist, botanist, entomologist, herpetologist, and malacologist.

J. F. Gmelin
Johann Friedrich Gmelin
Johann Friedrich Gmelin (1748–1804)
Born8 August 1748
Died1 November 1804 (aged 56)
Alma materUniversity of Tübingen
Known forTextbooks
Scientific career
FieldsNaturalist, botanist and entomologist
InstitutionsUniversity of Göttingen
University of Tübingen
Doctoral advisorPhilipp Friedrich Gmelin
Ferdinand Christoph Oetinger
Doctoral studentsGeorg Friedrich Hildebrandt
Friedrich Stromeyer
Carl Friedrich Kielmeyer
Wilhelm August Lampadius
Author abbrev. (botany)J.F.Gmel.
He was the eldest son of Philipp Friedrich Gmelin and the father of Leopold Gmelin.


Johann Friedrich Gmelin was born as the eldest son of Philipp Friedrich Gmelin in 1748 in Tübingen. He studied medicine under his father[1] at University of Tübingen and graduated with an MD in 1768, with a thesis entitled: Irritabilitatem vegetabilium, in singulis plantarum partibus exploratam ulterioribusque experimentis confirmatam., defended under the presidency of Ferdinand Christoph Oetinger,[2] whom he thanks with the words Patrono et praeceptore in aeternum pie devenerando, pro summis in medicina obtinendis honoribus.


In 1769, Gmelin became an adjunct professor of medicine at University of Tübingen. In 1773, he became professor of philosophy and adjunct professor of medicine at University of Göttingen. He was promoted to full professor of medicine and professor of chemistry, botany, and mineralogy in 1778. He died in 1804 in Göttingen.

Johann Friedrich Gmelin published several textbooks in the fields of chemistry, pharmaceutical science, mineralogy, and botany. He also published the 13th edition of Systema Naturae by Carl Linnaeus in 1788 and 1789. This contained descriptions and scientific names of many new species, including birds that had earlier been catalogued without a scientific name by John Latham in his A General Synopsis of Birds. Gmelin's publication is cited as the authority for over 290 bird species[3] and also a number of butterfly species. [4]


Among his students were Georg Friedrich Hildebrandt, Carl Friedrich Kielmeyer, Friedrich Stromeyer, and Wilhelm August Lampadius. He was the father of Leopold Gmelin. He described the redfin pickerel in 1789. In the scientific field of herpetology, he described many new species of amphibians and reptiles.[5] In the field of malacology, he described and named many species of gastropods.

The abbreviation "Gmel." is also found.[7]


  • Gmelin, Johann Friedrich; Ferdinand Christoph Oetinger (1768). Irritabilitatem vegetabilium, in singulis plantarum partibus exploratam ulterioribusque experimentis confirmatam. Thesis Tübingen. OCLC 10717434.
  • Allgemeine Geschichte der Gifte, 2 Vol., 1776/77 Digital edition of the University and State Library Düsseldorf.
  • Allgemeine Geschichte der Pflanzengifte, 1777
  • Allgemeine Geschichte der mineralischen Gifte. Nürnberg : Raspe, 1777. Digital edition of the University and State Library Düsseldorf.
  • Johann Friedrich Gmelins ... Einleitung in die Chemie zum Gebrauch auf Universitäten. Nürnberg: Raspe, 1780. Digital edition of the University and State Library Düsseldorf.
  • Einleitung in die Pharmacie. Nürnberg: Raspe, 1781. Digital edition of the University and State Library Düsseldorf.
  • Beyträge zur Geschichte des teutschen Bergbaus, 1783
  • Ueber die neuere Entdeckungen in der Lehre von der Luft, und deren Anwendung auf Arzneikunst, in Briefen an einen Arzt, von J. F. Gmelin., 1784
  • Grundsätze der technischen Chemie, 1786
  • Caroli a Linné, equitis aurati de stella polari, … Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Editio decima tertia, aucta, reformata. Lipsiae [Leipzig], Georg Emanuel Beer, 1789-1790
  • Grundriß der Pharmazie, 1792
  • Apparatus Medicaminum tam simplicium quam praeparatorum et compositorum in Praxeos Adiumentum consideratus, Ps. 2, T. 1 - Ps. 2, T. 2., 1795–1796. Digital edition of the University and State Library Düsseldorf.
  • Geschichte der Chemie, 1799
  • Allgemeine Geschichte der thierischen und mineralischen Gifte, 1806
Göttingen, Cheltenhampark, Grave of Johann Friedrich Gmelin


  1. ^ Mainz, Vera V.; Gregory S. Girolami (1998). "Genealogy Database Entry: Gmelin, Johann Friedrich" (PDF). School of Chemical Sciences Web Genealogy. University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  2. ^ Irritabilitatem vegetabilium in singulis plantarum partibus exploratatam
  3. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David (eds.). "IOC World Bird List Version 5.4". International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  4. ^ Vane-Wright, R. I., 1975. The butterflies named by J. F. Gmelin (Lepidoptera: Rhopalocera).Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History),Entomology, 32: 17-64.pdf
  5. ^ The Reptile Database.
  6. ^ IPNI.  J.F.Gmel.
  7. ^ See for instance: Audubon, John James (1831) - Ornithological Biography : Volume 1, p. 232. Online available at wikisource.
  • Vane-Wright, R. I., 1975. The butterflies named by J. F. Gmelin (Lepidoptera: Rhopalocera).Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History),Entomology, 32: 17-64.pdf

External links

American avocet

The American avocet (Recurvirostra americana) is a large wader in the avocet and stilt family, Recurvirostridae. This avocet spends much of its time foraging in shallow water or on mud flats, often sweeping its bill from side to side in water as it seeks its crustacean and insect prey.

Asian emerald cuckoo

The Asian emerald cuckoo (Chrysococcyx maculatus) is a species of cuckoo in the family Cuculidae. It is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forest.

Atlantic yellow-nosed albatross

The Atlantic yellow-nosed albatross (Thalassarche chlororhynchos) is a large seabird in the albatross family. The scientific name is from Ancient Greek. Thalassarche is from thalassa, "sea" and arkhe, "command", and chlororhynchos is from khloros, "yellow", and rhunkhos, "bill".This small mollymawk was once considered conspecific with the Indian yellow-nosed albatross and known as the yellow-nosed albatross. Some authorities still consider these taxa to be conspecific, such as the Clements checklist and the SACC, which recognizes that a proposal is needed.

Balistes punctatus

The bluespotted triggerfish, Balistes punctatus is a species of triggerfish from the Eastern Atlantic. It occasionally makes its way into the aquarium trade. It grows to a size of 60 centimetres (24 in).

Blue-crowned lorikeet

The blue-crowned lorikeet (Vini australis) is a parrot found throughout the Samoa and Tonga islands and Lau archipelago, including: ʻAlofi, Fotuhaʻa, Fulago, Futuna, Haʻafeva, Niuafoʻou, Moce, Niue, Ofu, Olosega, Samoa, Savaiʻi, Tafahi, Taʻu, Tofua, Tonga, Tungua, ʻUiha, ʻUpolu, Varoa, Vavaʻu, and Voleva. It is a 19 cm green lorikeet with a red throat, blue crown, and belly patch shading from red at the top to purple at the bottom.

It is still common, but declining on some islands, apparently from predation by rats. They frequent areas with flowering trees, including coconut plantations and gardens, usually in small flocks of less than about 15 individuals or in pairs during breeding season. It eats nectar, pollen, and soft fruits, especially wild hibiscus and coconut. The blue-crowned lory nests in holes in trees, but may also dig burrows in earth banks.

Also known as:

blue-crowned lory

blue-crested lory

Solomon lory

Samoan lory

Segavao, (Samoa)

Henga, (Tonga)

Chestnut-tailed starling

The chestnut-tailed starling or grey-headed myna (Sturnia malabarica) is a member of the starling family. It is a resident or partially migratory species found in wooded habitats in India and Southeast Asia. The species name is after the distribution of a former subspecies in the Malabar region. While the chestnut-tailed starling is a winter visitor to peninsular India, the closely related resident breeding population with a white head is now treated as a full species, the Malabar starling (Sturnia blythii).


The chuck-will's-widow (Antrostomus carolinensis) is a nocturnal bird of the nightjar family Caprimulgidae. It is found in the southeastern United States near swamps, rocky uplands, and pine woods. It migrates to the West Indies, Central America, and northwestern South America. This bird is generally confused with the better-known whippoorwill (Antrostomus vociferus), because of their similar calls and unusual names. Though rather closely related, they are two distinct species.

Chuck-will's-widow has a short bill and a long tail typical of the nightjars. It has mottled brownish underparts, a buff throat, reddish-brown feathers lined with black, and brown and white patterning on head and chest. Males have patches of white on their outer tail feathers. It is the largest nightjar in North America. In length, it ranges from 28 to 33 cm (11 to 13 in). The wingspan can range from 58 to 66 cm (23 to 26 in). The body mass of the species is from 66 to 188 g (2.3 to 6.6 oz). Among standard measurements, the wing chord is 20.1 to 22.5 cm (7.9 to 8.9 in), the tail is 13 to 15.1 cm (5.1 to 5.9 in), the bill is 1.1 to 1.4 cm (0.43 to 0.55 in) and the tarsus is 1.5 to 1.9 cm (0.59 to 0.75 in).Its common name derives from its continuous, repetitive song that is often heard at night. This consist of a series of calls with a vibrating middle note between two shorter notes, not much shifting in pitch. It is slower, lower-pitched and less piercing than the song of the whip-poor-will. Alternative names include "Chuckwuts-widow" and "Chip-fell-out-of-a-oak."It eats primarily insects, particularly those active at night such as moths, beetles, and winged ants. It will also eat small birds and bats, swallowing them whole.Females lay eggs on patches of dead leaves on the ground. The eggs, which are pink with spots of brown and lavender, are subsequently incubated by the female.


The dickcissel (Spiza americana) is a small American seed-eating bird in the family Cardinalidae. It is the only member of the genus Spiza, though some sources list another supposedly extinct species (see below).

Grasshopper sparrow

The grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) is a small American sparrow. The genus Ammodramus contains nine species that inhabit grasslands and prairies.

The Florida grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum floridanus) is endangered.

Hawaiʻi ʻelepaio

The Hawaiʻi ʻelepaio (Chasiempis sandwichensis), also Hawaiian ʻelepaio, is a monarch flycatcher found on the Big Island of Hawaii. Until 2010, all three ʻelepaio species, the Kauaʻi ʻelepaio (C. sclateri), the Oʻahu ʻelepaio (C. ibidis) and this species were considered conspecific.

New Zealand plover

The New Zealand plover (Charadrius obscurus) is a species of shorebird found only in certain areas of New Zealand. Its Māori names include tūturiwhatu, pukunui, and kūkuruatu.

The southern subspecies of the New Zealand plover is considered critically endangered and was nearing extinction with about 75 individuals remaining in 1990, but conservation measures increased this to 250 by 2005.

Patella ferruginea

Patella ferruginea, commonly known as the ribbed Mediterranean limpet, is a species of sea snail, a true limpet, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Patellidae, one of the families of true limpets. It is a large limpet, native to the western Mediterranean Sea, and although common in the past, it is now rare and restricted to only a few locations.

Patella ulyssiponensis

Patella ulyssiponensis, common name the rough limpet, or China limpet is a species of sea snail, a true limpet, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Patellidae, one of the families of true limpets.Compared with the common limpet, Patella vulgata, the rough limpet has a similar shell (maximum size 50mm long x 40 mm wide x 20 mm high, apex closer to the front of the animal/ anterior than to the back/ posterior) but with radiating ridges that are finer and which alternate 1-ridge/ 3-ridges around the shell in a distinct pattern. The interior of the shell is often tinged orange towards its apex. The foot is a cream-orange color, and the dozens of pallial tentacles are translucent and colorless, arranged in two series of different sizes. No other characteristics of body structure or shell morphology distinguish it from P. vulgata, to which it is otherwise identical.

Ruby-cheeked sunbird

The ruby-cheeked sunbird (Chalcoparia singalensis) is a species of bird in the family Nectariniidae.

Semisalsa stagnorum

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Spitz (also pluralized spitzes or, borrowing from German, Spitzen) are a type of domestic dog characterized by long, thick, and often white fur, and pointed ears and muzzles. The tail often curls over the dog's back or droops.

The exact origins of spitz dogs are not known, though most of the spitz seen today originate from the Arctic region or Siberia. The type was described as Canis pomeranus by Johann Friedrich Gmelin in his revision of Systema Naturae in 1788 (printed in English in 1792).


The surfbird (Calidris virgata) is a small stocky wader in the family Scolopacidae. It was once considered to be allied to the turnstones, and placed in the monotypic genus Aphriza, but is now placed in the genus Calidris.

This bird has a short dark bill, yellow legs and a black band at the end of the white rump. In breeding plumage, it has dark streaks on the brownish head and breast with dark spots on its white underparts; the upperparts are dark with rust colouring on the wings. Birds in winter plumage and immature birds are mainly grey on the upperparts and breast and white on the underparts with streaking.

Their breeding habitat is rocky tundra areas in Alaska and the Yukon. The female lays 4 eggs in a depression on the ground lined with vegetation. Both parents look after the young birds, who feed themselves.

These birds migrate to the Pacific coasts of North and South America, from southern Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.

On the nesting grounds, these birds mainly eat insects and some seeds. At other times of year, they eat mollusks and crustaceans found along the surf line on rocky coasts and are usually found in small flocks, often with turnstones.

The song is a whistled tee tee tee.

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The Tyrrhenian wall lizard (Podarcis tiliguerta) is a species of lizard in the family Lacertidae. The species is endemic to the islands Sardinia and Corsica.

Wedge-tailed shearwater

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