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Péringuey, Louis Albert (1855-1924)

Insect taxonomist (mainly beetles) at the South African Museum from 1884-1924.


Date Age Events
9 Oct 1855 0 Born in Bordeaux, France
? ? Obtained a masters degree in Sciences at ??
? ? Collected for museums in Senegal, Gambia and Madagascar for three years.
1879 24 Emigrated to South Africa where he initially taught French at the South African College and the Diocesan College, Cape Town.
1882 27 Began working at the South African Museum, as a volunteer, on beetles
1884 29 Joined the permanent staff of the S.A. Museum.
1885 30 Appointed inspector-general of vineyards.
1892 37 Married Bertha Marcellis.
1896 41 Became assistant director of the South African Museum.
1906 51 Appointed director of the S.A. Museum.
1906 51 Started lecturing in forest entomology at the S.A. College.
1906 51 Awarded a doctorate in Natural Sciences by the University of the Cape of Good Hope.
20 Feb 1924 68 Died in Cape Town

Hesse (A Century and a half of entomology at the South African Museum. Unpublished manuscript): "[Péringuey was] a strongly built, tall and fearless man, with an energetic, dynamic and dominating personality, with a strong will which at times made of him something of a bully and which brooked no gainsay. He was a man with an almost abnormal capacity for work, with great mental ability and a prodigious memory. These were his positive attributes, but on the negative side he was short tempered, obstinate, very sensitive to criticism, had a streak of professional jealousy, was egoistic and to a certain extent disliked university-educated or qualified people. ... Sometimes Péringuey could be very petty and revengeful as when, is his dislike for Germans, he described and named a species of the family Gryllacrididae, which he thought to be a new genus, "Bochus" and the type species "contemnendus" (in other words the "Contemptible German"). Many years afterwards an Austrian authority, who revised the family, found the species to be a synonym of "punctaticeps", described by a former author under another and old synonymic genus. The specific name punctaticeps had to replace contemnendus, but Péringuey's generic name of Bochus still stands. The taxonomic name of this unfortunate insect is now Bochus punctaticeps, translated as "the German with the prickly head".

Report on Entomology Department for 1897 (in SAM Annual Report; written by Péringuey): "I regret to have to say that the work in my department is growing too large for me. Most of my time is taken up in pinning, labelling, sorting and drying. The scientific part of my work has to be done at night. An Assistant would relieve me of the mechanical work, and would enable me to catalogue the Cabinet and incorporate the foreign insects of which we have so many."


  • Dictionary of South African Biography 2: 537; 

  • Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa 13: ii.













Text by Hamish G. Robertson


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