Samuel Hubbard Scudder

Samuel Hubbard Scudder was an American entomologist and palaeontologist. He was born 13 April 1837 in Boston, Massachusetts and died in the same city 17 May 1911.

Scudder may be most widely known for his essay on the importance of first-hand, careful observation in the natural sciences. The treatise on inductive reasoning, entitled "The Student, the Fish, and Agassiz", reflects his initial experience under the tutelage of Louis Agassiz at Harvard University.

He graduated at Williams College in 1857 and at Harvard University in 1862, was a leading figure in American entomology from 1858, and the first North American insect palaeontologist. He also undertook systematic work with Lepidoptera (almost exclusively butterflies), Orthoptera , Mantodea and Blattoidea and fossil Arthropoda.

A student of Mark Hopkins at Williams College and Louis Agassiz at Harvard University, Scudder was a prolific writer, publishing 791 papers between 1858-1902, on insect biogeography and paleobiogeography, insect behavior ontogeny and phylogeny, insect songs, trace fossils, evolution, insect biology and economic entomology. He also wrote on ethnology, general geology, and geography.

His masterwork of fossil terrestrial arthropod research was the two-volume set Fossil Insects of North America: The Pre-tertiary Insects (1890) (a collection of his previous papers on Paleozoic and Mesozoic insects) and The Tertiary Insects of North America (1890)

He also published comprehensive reviews of the then-known fossil cockroaches of the world (1879), Carboniferous cockroaches of the United States (1890, 1895), and fossil terrestrial arthropods of the world (1886, 1891). Scudder's Nomenclator Zoologicus (1882-1884) was a seminal and comprehensive list of all generic and family names (Zoology including insects).

Scudder’s other contributions include: Curator, Librarian, Custodian, and President of the Boston Society of Natural History (1859-1870, 1880-1887); co-founder of the Cambridge Entomological Club and its journal Psyche (1874); General Secretary of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1875) (Vice-President (1894).); First editor of Science (1883-1885); United States Geological Survey Paleontologist (1886-1892); etal.


  • The Student, the Fish, and Agassiz, American Poems (3rd ed.; Boston: Houghton, Osgood & Co., 1879): pp. 450-54
  • Butterflies: Their Structure, Changes, and Life Histories (1881)
  • Nomenclator zoologicus : an alphabetical list of all generic names that have been employed by naturalists for recent and fossil animals from the earliest times to the close of the year 1879 Bulletin of the United States national museum Washington Government printing office, 1882. XIX-340 p. (1882). On line at Gallica
  • Butterflies of the Eastern United States and Canada (1889)
  • The Fossil Insects of North America (two volumes, 1890)
  • Index to the Known Fossil Insects of the World (1891)
  • Tertiary Rhynchophorous Coleoptera of the United States (1893)
  • The Life of a Butterfly (1893)
  • Frail Children of the Air: Excursions into the World of Butterflies (1895)
  • Revision of the Orthopteran Group Melanopli (1897)
  • Everyday Butterflies (1899)
  • Catalogue of the Described Orthoptera of the United States and Canada (1900)
  • Adephagous and Clavicorn Coleoptera from the Tertiary Deposits at Florissant, Colorado (1900)
  • Index to North American Orthoptera (1901)


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