Theodor Kirsch (entomologist)

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Theodor Franz Wilhelm Kirsch

Theodor Franz Wilhelm Kirsch (born September 29, 1818 in Düben , † July 8, 1889 in Dresden ) was a German entomologist . He specialized in beetles (especially weevils ) but also dealt with butterflies.

He was the son of a Prussian tax collector and went to high school in Torgau . The family could not afford to study medicine and so he did an apprenticeship as a pharmacist with his older brother in Penig near Chemnitz and also learned in Halberstadt and Meiningen . From 1843 he studied natural sciences and especially pharmacy at the University of Leipzig for another two years. In 1848 he bought a pharmacy in Chemnitz and married there. From 1850 he was a volunteer at the Royal Natural History Museum in Dresden under its director Ludwig Reichenbach . In 1856 he sold his pharmacy and settled in Dresden in order to devote himself entirely to entomology as a private researcher. He conducted extensive correspondence and collected money on the annual vacation with his family in the Alps. In 1875 he was persuaded to accept the newly created post of curator of entomology at the Dresden Museum. He left the entomological collection, which also included his own (including specialist library), in an exemplary condition.

He described beetles from Malacca, New Guinea, Peru and Bogota, among others, and he published on various areas of entomology. He worked with the collector Ernst von Kiesenwetter . Most of his own collection came to the State Museum of Natural History in Dresden, a small part also to the Museum of Bytom . His private collection comprised around 57,400 specimens of insects that can be assigned to around 16,200 species, including around 51,700 beetles.

On April 6, 1867 he became a member of the Leopoldina .

He is the first to describe the butterfly Troides riedeli (KIRSCH, 1885).

Henri de Saussure named the grasshopper Gryllodes kirschii SAUSSURE, 1877, in his honor , which is now assigned to Modicogryllus kirschii (SAUSSURE, 1877).

Fonts (selection)

  • Coleopteras collected in the years 1868-1877 on a trip through South America , 1889
  • New South American Beetles , 2 volumes, 1883 and 1886
  • Contributions to the knowledge of the Peruvian beetle fauna on Dr. Abendroth's collections based , 2 volumes, 1873 and 1876
  • New beetles from Malacca , 1875


  • Adolf Bernhard Meyer : Nekrolog auf Theodor Kirsch (with portrait). Treatises and reports of the Royal. Zoological and Anthropological-Etnographic Museum to Dresden, 5, 1889, pp. 1-7 digitized

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