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Distinguished author

Bonaparte Charles Luciene Jules Laurent.jpg

Charles Lucien Bonaparte
May 24, 1803 – July 29, 1857. Author abbreviation: Bonaparte

Charles Lucien ("Carlo Luciano") Bonaparte was French zoologist specialized in ornithology and ichthyology. He also studied amphibians and reptiles and is the author of Ursini's viper, Vipera ursinii. Bonaparte was the son of Lucien Bonaparte and Alexandrine de Bleschamp, and a nephew of Emperor Napoleon. Born in Paris, he was raised in Italy. After getting married to Zénaïde Bonaparte, he and his wife left for Philadelphia in the United States to live with Joseph Bonaparte, father of Zénaïde. Before leaving Italy, Charles had already discovered a warbler new to science, the moustached warbler (Acrocephalus melanopogon), and on the voyage he collected specimens of a new storm-petrel, Oceanites oceanicus. On arrival in the United States he presented a paper on this new bird, which was later named Wilson's storm petrel (after Alexander Wilson).

At the end of 1826, Bonaparte and his family returned to Europe. He visited Germany, where he met Philipp Jakob Cretzschmar, and England, where he met John Edward Gray at the British Museum, and renewed his acquaintance with John James Audubon. In 1828, the family settled in Rome. In Italy, he was the originator of several scientific congresses, and lectured and wrote extensively on American and European ornithology and other branches of natural history. Between 1832 and 1841, Bonaparte published his work on the animals of Italy, Iconografia della Fauna Italica. He had also published Specchio Comparativo delle Ornithologie di Roma e di Filadelfia (Pisa, 1827), presenting a comparison between birds of the latitude of Philadelphia and Italian species. He created the genus Zenaida, after his wife, for the mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) and its relatives. He was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1845.

In 1850, Bonaparte and his family of wife and twelve children moved to France, and he made Paris his home for the rest of his life. In 1854, he became director of the Jardin des Plantes. In 1855, he was made a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He published the first volume of his Conspectus Generum Avium before his death, the second volume being edited by Hermann Schlegel. Lucien Charles Bonaparte died in Paris at the age of 54.

See also: List of 53 taxa authored by Charles Lucien BonaparteDistinguished authors of previous months

Species of the month

Neocallitropsis pancheri

Neocallitropsis pancheri

Neocallitropsis pancheri

Some facts about this coniferous shrub or small tree:

Height: 3–6 m (rarely 10 m).

Trunk diameter: 30–50 cm.

Habitat: open scrub (maquis minier) on ultramafic serpentine soils rich in nickel and other metal ores.

Distribution: New Caledonia (endemic).

Surviving number: ten populations, mostly small.

Conservation status: Near Threatened (IUCN 3.1)

First described: by Carrière in 1867, originally named as Eutacta pancheri.


Neocallitropsis pancheri is a very unusual species in the cypress family Cupressaceae, unique in its leaves being ranked in eight rows, rather than the usual four or six rows. It is one of the many conifers unique to New Caledonia, where it is threatened by industrial mining (as it occurs on metal-rich sites rich in nickel ore) and also by wildfires.

The foliage is superficially similar to, and was originally mistaken for, species of Araucaria in the section Eutacta (family Araucariaceae; then treated as a distinct genus), and was only realised to be in the Cupressaceae when the cones were examined by Compton in 1922. He described a new genus Callitropsis for it ("resembling Callitris", the genus to which it is most similar in cone structure), but not did not realise that this name had already been used for a different plant by Ørsted in 1864. A new name was therefore needed for it, with Neocallitropsis ("new Callitropsis") being described for it by Florin in 1944. A good example of the many perils facing botanists describing new plants.

See also: Species of previous months

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