Max Poll

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Max Fernand Leon Poll (born July 21, 1908 in Ruijsbroek near Brussels , † March 13, 1991 in Brussels) was a Belgian ichthyologist who researched in particular the African cichlids ( Pseudocrenilabrinae ).

Max Poll was born the son of a doctor. His maternal grandfather, the botanist Isidore Teirlinck, gave him a first introduction to the natural sciences. During his studies in zoology at the Free University of Brussels , which he began in 1926, he first turned to the entomologist and wrote his doctoral thesis on the Malpighian vessels of the beetles (Coleoptera).

In 1932, at the age of 24, he began to be interested in fish, especially cichlids, and in the same year he described two new species from Lake Kivu . He became a professor at the Free University of Brussels and curator at the Musée Royal du Congo belge (now Musée royal de l'Afrique centrale ) in Tervuren .

In 1946 he organized an expedition to the East African Lake Tanganyika , as a result of which 22 new species of cichlid, 98 new species of cichlid, six cichlid subspecies as well as some gill sack catfish (Clariidae), Nile pike (Mormyridae) and slender fish (Kneriidae) were newly described. In 1948 he took part in an oceanographic expedition on board a Belgian trawler on the African coast of the South Atlantic. He created a four-volume description of the fish fauna.

From 1958 to 1959 he took part in an expedition to the Stanley Pool , examined the cocoons of the lung fish ( Protopterus ) and the reproduction of these fish. Other expeditions in the Congo included a. Fish farming and tilapia fishing . Overall, Max Poll described seven families, 43 genera, 390 species and 25 new subspecies from Lake Tumba , the Stanley Pool, Lake Tanganyika, Katanga , Angola , Limpopo and the South Atlantic in over 200 publications . In addition to the fish he caught himself, he described numerous new discoveries sent to him, including species from the Ivory Coast , Angola, Kenya , Tanzania , Somalia , South Africa , the Galapagos Islands , Tahiti , the North Atlantic, the North Sea and the Mediterranean . After his retirement he worked on the four volumes of the Check-list of the freshwater fishes of Africa (CLOFFA) .

Max Poll was a member of the Royal Academies for Science and the Arts of Belgium and an honorary member of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists . Max Poll died on March 13, 1991 in Brussels.

Fish species and genera named in his honor include: Etmopterus polli , Merluccius polli , Microsynodontis polli , Oxylapia polli , Pollichthys , Polyipnus polli , Polypterus polli and Synodontis polli .


  • Obituary of the Royal Academies for Science and the Arts of Belgium: PDF

Individual evidence

  1. Etmopterus polli on (English)
  2. Merluccius polli on (English)
  3. Microsynodontis polli on (English)
  4. Oxylapia polli on (English)
  5. Pollichthys on (English)
  6. Polyipnus polli on (English)
  7. Synodontis polli on (English)