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Wikispecies

The free species directair that oniebodie can eedit.

It covers Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Bacteria, Archaea, Protista an aw ither forms o life.

Richt nou we have 591,983 articles an coontin

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A collaboration atween Wikispecies an ZooKeys haes bin announced. PhytoKeys joined the collaboration an aw in Novembra 2010. Eemages o species fae ZooKeys an PhytoKeys will be uplaided tae Wikimedia Commons an uised in Wikispecies.



Distinguished author

Doctor Francesco Redi.jpg

Francesco Redi
1626–1697. Standard IPNI form: Redi

Francesco Redi was an Italian entomologist, parasitologist and toxicologist, sometimes referred to as the "founder of experimental biology" and the "father of modern parasitology". Having a doctoral degree and in both medicine and philosophy from the University of Pisa at the age of 21, he worked in various cities of Italy.

Redi is best known for his series of experiments, published in 1668 as Esperienze Intorno alla Generazione degli Insetti ("Experiments on the Generation of Insects"), which is regarded as his masterpiece and a milestone in the history of modern science. The book is one of the first steps in refuting "spontaneous generation", a theory also known as "Aristotelian abiogenesis". At the time, prevailing theory was that maggots arose spontaneously from rotting meat, which Redi was able to disprove. In an experiment, He used samples of rotting meat that were either fully exposed to the air, partially exposed to the air, or not exposed to air at all. Redi showed that both fully and partially exposed rotting meat developed fly maggots, whereas rotting meat that was not exposed to air did not develop maggots. This discovery completely changed the way people viewed the decomposition of organisms and prompted further investigations into insect life cycles and into entomology in general. It is also an early example of forensic entomology.

In Esperienze Intorno alla Generazione degli Insetti Redi was the first to describe ectoparasites, such as lice (Phthiraptera), fleas (Siphonaptera), and some mites (Acari). His next treatise in 1684, titled Osservazioni intorno agli animali viventi che si trovano negli animali viventi ("Observations on Living Animals, that are in Living Animals") recorded the descriptions and the illustrations of more than 100 parasites. In it he also differentiates the earthworm (generally regarded as a helminth) and Ascaris lumbricoides, the human roundworm. An important innovation from the book is his experiments in chemotherapy in which he employed what is now called "scientific control", the basis of experimental design in modern biological research. Perhaps, his most significant observation was that parasites produce eggs and develop from them, which contradicted the prevailing opinion that they are produced spontaneously. Altogether he is known to have described some 180 species of parasites.

See also: Distinguished authors of previous months.

Species of the month

Common Death Adder

Acanthophis antarcticus

Acanthophis antarcticus

Some facts on this snake:

Length: 70-100 cm.

Longevity: 9 years (in captivity).

Habitat: Forests, woodlands, grasslands and heaths.

Range: Eastern and coastal southern Australia.

Diet: Small mammals, lizards and birds.

Bite speed: 13 hundredths of a second.

Conservation status: Least Concern (IUCN 3.1).

First described: George Shaw and Frederick Polydore Nodder in 1802.


Be careful not to step accidentally on a camouflaged Acanthophis antarcticus. This is one of the most venomous snakes known in the world: a bite can cause paralysis and may lead to death within 6 hours, due to respiratory failure. The Death Adder is characterized by a broad and somewhat flattened, triangular head, short stout body and a thin rat-like body ending in a curved spine. It has the habit of burying itself in sand or leaf litter, with just the head and tail exposed whilst it lies in wait for prey. On approach of a potential prey, it mimics the movements of a worm or caterpillar with the tip of the tail in a process called caudal luring. The end of the wiggling tail is easily mistaken for food by a hungry and unsuspecting victim which is instantly captivated. When the prey is within range, the snake strikes at great speed. Female death adders are viviparous; they produce large litters of live babies which number between 10 and 32 in late summer. The genus Acanthophis or "death adders" contains 7 australian species, and belongs to the family Elapidae or "Elapid snakes".

See also: Species of previous months

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