Bulletin of The British Ornithologists' Club 1997 117:145-147
40058283

Scopoli, Linnaeus and the wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria

Fabio Barbagli, Fausto Barbagli, Carlo Violani
F.
Barbagli
et
al.
145
Bull.
B.O.C.
1997
117(2)
Scopoli,
Linnaeus
and
the
Wallcreeper
Tichodroma
muraria
by
Fahio
Barbagli,
Fausto
Barbagli
&
Carlo
Violani
While
examining
letters
written
to
Carl
Linnaeus
(Rashult
1707-
Hammarby
1778)
by
Giovanni
Antonio
Scopoli
(Cavalese
1723-Pavia
1788)
now
preserved
in
the
Linnean
Society's
Library,
London,
and
the
respective
replies
published
by
Cobelli
&
Delaiti
(1889)
and
recently
by
Soban
(1995),
we
found
interesting
details
on
the
nomenclature
of
some
animals
including
the
Edible
Dormouse
Myoxus
glis
(Violani
&
Zava
1995)
and
the
Wallcreeper
Tichodroma
muraria.
This
bird
was
not
included
in
the
tenth
edition
of
Systema
Naturae
(1758)
probably
because
being
a
species
foreign
to
Sweden
it
was
unfamiliar
to
Linnaeus.
Scopoli
was
a
faithful
correspondent
of
Linnaeus.
He
was
employed
by
the
Austrian
Imperial
Government
as
a
physician
to
the
quicksilver
miners
of
Idria
in
Carniola
(the
region
around
Ljubljana
in
Slovenia)
and
his
salary
was
supplemented
by
the
tax
money
collected
on
wine
sold
in
the
area
(Scopoli
1786—1788).
Although
isolated,
Scopoli
cultivated
interests
in
many
fields
of
the
natural
history
of
Carniola,
botanizing,
collecting
insects
and
making
observations
on
the
local
birds,
during
a
long
residence
in
Idria
and
on
his
trips
through
Slovenia
and
Friuli.
He
wanted
to
send
a
specimen
and
communicate
first-hand
details
of
the
W^allcreeper
to
Linnaeus
so
that
his
Swedish
correspondent
could
include
it
in
a
future
revised
edition
of
Systema
Naturae.
In
a
long
letter
to
Linnaeus,
dated
28
January
1762,
Scopoli
announced
that
he
had
sent
a
Upupa
muraria
in
a
box
together
with
other
scientific
material.
However
Linnaeus
was
unable
to
find
the
bird
in
the
consignment
when
he
opened
the
box,
and
so
noted
down
on
the
left
margin
of
Scopoli's
letter:
''Hanc
non
reperi
in
cistula;
certe
neglexit
imponere
Scopoli
.
.
.
"
["I
did
not
find
this
in
the
box;
certainly
Scopoli
must
have
forgotten
to
put
it
in
.
.
.
"].
On
11
February
1762,
the
Italian
author
apologized
for
his
negligence
and
wrote:
'*
.
.
.
In
cysta,
pro
Te,
CI.
Gronovio
missa,
non
invenies
Picum
murarium
Aldrov
.
.
.
Nescio
enim
quofato,
apud
me
denuo
remanserit,
mittam
tamen
alia
vice.
Avis
haec
non
est
Picus,
sed
meo
iudicio
Upupa
corpore
supra
cinereo,
gula
alba
abdomine
cauda
alisq.
nigris:
basi
remigibusq.
primariis
semirubris:
tribus
primis
maculis
duabus
albis
...
"
["
...
In
the
box,
sent
to
you
through
the
celebrated
Gronovius,
you
will
not
find
the
Picus
murarius
of
Aldrovandi
...
I
do
not
know
by
what
mischance
it
remained
with
me,
but
I
will
send
it
some
other
way.
This
bird
is
not
a
woodpecker,
but
in
my
judgement
an
Hoopoe,
with
ash
grey
upperparts,
throat
white,
belly,
tail
and
wings
black
with
the
base
of
the
primaries
half-red,
the
three
outer
ones
with
two
white
spots
.
.
.
"].
At
last,
with
a
long
letter
written
by
Scopoli
on
7
April
1763,
Linnaeus
received
a
specimen
of
the
bird
accompanied
by
an
accurate
description
of
Merops
murarius.
Scopoli
wrote:
**
.
.
.
En
descriptionem