Processionary Caterpillar

Jean Henri Fabre

[fah-ber; Fr. fa-bruh]
Jean-Henri Casimir Fabre (December 22, 1823 - October 11, 1915) was a French entomologist and author.


Fabre was born in Saint-Léons in Aveyron, France. Fabre was largely an autodidact, owing to the poverty of his family. Nevertheless, he acquired a primary teaching certificate at the young age of 19 and began teaching at the college of Ajaccio, Corsica, called Carpentras. In 1852, he taught at the lycée in Avignon.

Fabre went on to accomplish many scholarly achievements. He was a popular teacher, physicist, chemist and botanist. However, he is probably best known for his findings in the field of entomology, the study of insects, and is considered by many to be the father of modern entomology. Much of his enduring popularity is due to his marvelous teaching ability and his manner of writing about the lives of insects in biographical form, which he preferred to a clinically detached, journalistic mode of recording. In doing so he combined what he called "my passion for scientific truth" with keen observations and an engaging, colloquial style of writing. Fabre noted:

Others again have reproached me with my style, which has not the solemnity, nay, better, the dryness of the schools. They fear lest a page that is read without fatigue should not always be the expression of the truth. Were I to take their word for it, we are profound only on condition of being obscure.

Over the years he wrote a series of texts on insects and arachnids that are collectively known as the Souvenirs Entomologiques. Fabre's influence is felt in the later works of fellow naturalist Charles Darwin, who called Fabre "an inimitable observer". Fabre, however, rejected Darwin's theory of evolution.

Fabre studied the habit of processionary caterpillars and in one experiment manipulated them to form a loop around a pot. Following their silken trail they moved around in a circle for seven days.

Jean-Henri Fabre's last home and office, the "Harmas de Sérignan" in Provence stands today as a museum devoted to his life and works.

The site of his birth, at St Léons, near Millau is now the site of Micropolis, a tourist attraction dedicated to popularising entomology and a museum on his life.


  • Scène de la vie des insectes
  • Chimie agricole (textbook) (1862)
  • La Terre (Jean Henri Fabre)|La Terre (1865)
  • Le Ciel (textbook) (1867) - Scanned text on Gallica
  • Catalogue des « Insectes Coléoptères observés aux environs d'Avignon » (1870)
  • Les Ravageurs (1870)
  • Les Auxiliaires (1873)
  • Aurore (textbook) (1874) Scanned text on Gallica
  • Botanique (textbook) (1874)
  • L'Industrie (textbook) (1875)
  • Les Serviteurs (textbook) (1875)
  • Sphériacées du Vaucluse (1878)
  • Souvenirs entomologiques - 1st serie (1891) - (1879) - Scanned text on Gallica
  • Etude sur les moeurs des Halictes (1879)
  • Le Livre des Champs (1879)
  • Lectures sur la Botanique (1881)
  • Nouveaux souvenirs entomologiques - 2th serie (1882) - Scanned text on Gallica
  • Lectures sur la Zoologie (1882)
  • Zoologie (Jean Henri Fabre)|Zoologie (textbook) (1884)
  • Souvenirs entomologiques - 3th serie (1886) - Scanned text on Gallica
  • Histoire naturelles (textbook) (1889)
  • Souvenirs entomologiques - 4th serie (1891) - Scanned text on Gallica
  • La plante : leçons à mon fils sur la botanique (livre scolaire) (1892) - Scanned text on Gallica
  • Souvenirs entomologiques - 5th serie (1897) - Scanned text on Gallica
  • Souvenirs entomologiques - 6th serie (1900) - Scanned text on Gallica
  • Souvenirs entomologiques - 7th serie (1901) - Scanned text on Gallica
  • Souvenirs entomologiques - 8th serie (1903)
  • Souvenirs entomologiques - 9th serie (1905)
  • Souvenirs entomologiques - 10th serie (1909)
  • Fabre's book of insects retold from Alexander Teixeira de Mattos' translation of Fabre's Souvenirs entomologiques Scanned book
  • Oubreto Provençalo dou Felibre di Tavan (1909) Text on Jean-Henri Fabre, e-museum
  • La Vie des insectes (1910)
  • Mœurs des insectes (1911)
  • Les Merveilles de l'instinct chez les insectes (1913)
  • Le monde merveilleux des insectes (1921)
  • Poésie françaises et provençales (1925) (final edition)
  • La Vie des araignées (1928)
  • Bramble-Bees and Others Scanned book, Project Gutenberg Full Text
  • The Life of the Grasshopper. Dodd, Mead, and company, 1917. ASIN B00085HYR4
  • The Life of the Caterpillar. Dodd, Mead, 1919. ASIN B00089FB2A
  • Field, Forest, and Farm: Things interesting to young nature lovers, including some matters of moment to gardeners and fruit-growers. The Century Company, 1919. ASIN B00085PDU4
  • This Earth is Ours: Talks about Mountains and Rivers, Volcanoes, Earthquakes, and Geysers & Other Things. Albert & Charles Boni, 1923. ASIN B000EHLE22
  • The Glow-Worm and Other Beetles. Dodd, Mead, 1924. ASIN B000882F2K
  • The Mason Bees (Translated) Garden City, 1925. ASIN B00086XXU0; Reprinted in 2004 by Kessinger Publishing; ISBN 1417916761; ISBN 978-1417916764 Scanned book, Project Gutenberg Full Text
  • Curiosities of Science. The Century Company, 1927. ASIN B00086KVBE
  • The Insect World of J. Henri Fabre. Introduction and Interpretive Comments by Edwin Way Teale; Foreword to 1991 edition by Gerald Durrell. Published by Dodd, Mead in 1949; Reprinted by Beacon Press in 1991; ISBN 0-8070-8513-8
  • The Life of the Spider (Translated) Preface by Maurice Maeterlinck; Introduction by John K. Terres. Published by Horizon Press, 1971; ISBN 0-8180-1705-8 (First published by Dodd, Mead, and company in 1913, ASIN B00085D6P8) Scanned book, Project Gutenberg Full Text
  • The Life of the Fly. (Translated) Fredonia Books, 2001. ISBN 1589630262; ISBN 978-1589630260 Scanned book
  • The Hunting Wasps. University Press of the Pacific, 2002. ISBN 1410200078; ISBN 978-1410200075
  • More Hunting Wasps Scanned book Project Gutenberg Full Text
  • The Wonders of Instinct: Chapters in the Psychology of Insects. University Press of the Pacific, 2002. ISBN 0898757681; ISBN 978-0898757682 Scanned book, Project Gutenberg Full Text
  • Social Life in the Insect World Scanned book, Project Gutenberg Full Text
  • Insect life Scanned book


Fabre's insect collection is in Musée Requien Avignon.


  • G.V. Legros, (Bernard Miall, translator), Fabre, Poet of Science. T. Fisher Unwin, 1913. (Reprinted by University Press of the Pacific, 2002, ISBN 0898759455; ISBN 978-0898759457) Scanned book
  • E.L. Bouvier, The Life and Work of J.H. Fabre. Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution, 1916, pages 587-597.
  • Augustin Fabre, The Life of Jean Henri Fabre. Dodd, Mead, 1921. Scanned version on the Internet Archive
  • Percy F. Bicknell, The Human Side of Fabre. The Century Company, 1923.


The French post office commemorated Fabre in 1956 with a stamp depicting a portrait of him.

Fabre makes an appearance in the Original Video Animation Read or Die is among as one of eight clones of historical figures that served as the villains in the animation.


External links

Search another word or see Processionary Caterpillaron Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature