Journal Article

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  • Taxonomic revision of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschkas’ Glass Models of Invertebrates 1888 Catalogue, with correction of authorities
    Callaghan, E., Egger, B., Doyle, H., Reynaud, E. G.
    Journal of Natural Science Collections, Volume 7, pages 34 - 43

    The glass models of invertebrates crafted by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka were made between 1863 and 1889. Production ceased when the glassmakers turned their attention to what is now known as the Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants, created for the Harvard Museum of Natural History. More than 130 years have passed since their last published catalogue of species in 1888 and the nomenclature they applied is now a confusing mix that includes many junior synonyms and unavailable names. This is an issue for many museums and universities which own Blaschka models, as uncertain identifications may compromise interpretation of this rediscovered legacy. Today, many museums and universities hold collections of those glass invertebrates but rely on labels that have outdated taxonomy, or may be misspelled. Here, we provide a valuable resource for curators and enthusiasts alike. We studied and updated the final catalogue of 1888 from the Blaschkas’ Dresden-based workshop. We first focused on major taxonomical changes from taxa to species, as well as on an analysis of the acknowledged authorities. We found that only 35.3% of the taxonomic names applied to the 1888 models are currently used, while 3.7% lack any known synonym and their identity remains open to interpretation. Finally, two of the authorities listed in the catalogue, Ernst Haeckel and Philip Henry Gosse, were incorrectly acknowledged as authors for taxa that were applied to an extensive range of models. This study is the first of its kind on the taxonomy used for the 1888 Blaschka catalogue, and it will help in the identification and naming of Blaschka models worldwide.

    Keywords: Invertebrate, Blaschka, museum, collection, taxonomy