by Mike Dingley, Australia

Having more than a slight interest in freshwater algae - especially Desmids, and also collecting books (among other things) on the subject, my thoughts were re-kindled on the subject of early illustrations.

Some years ago I read somewhere about a reference to a book by O.F. Müller entitled Animalcula Infusoria Fluviatilia et Marina published in 1786. This was quoted as being possibly, the earliest printing containing illustrations of Desmids (and other microscopic forms). I could only remember the authors name and so I did some researching in the Australian Museum library which yielded the very book that I was looking for.

Although placed in the genus Vibrio, the Latin description together with the drawings enable us to place the majority of drawings as Closterium lunula.

When I get enough time to translate the Latin text fully I hope to ascertain whether figures 8 and 12 are really the same as figures 9-15 (excluding # 12).

The two accompanying images show the title page of the book and that of plate 7 which shows the earliest drawings of desmids. Figures 1-7 show diatoms.

If anyone knows of an earlier publication illustrating desmids the author would be most grateful to hear about it.

Mike Dingley

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