Audouin, Jean Victor
Audouin, Jean Victor
(b. Paris, France, 27 April 1797; d. Paris, 9 November 1841)
Audouin was the second child of Victor Joseph Audouin, a notary, and Jeanne Marie Pierrette Enée. He began his studies at Rheims in 1807, and continued them at Paris in 1809 and at Lucca from 1812 to 1814; in Lucca he stayed with a relative who was an official in the household of Princess Elisa Baciocchi. He then returned to Paris and attended the Lycée Louis-le Grand. Later Audouin began to study law, but he soon abandoned it for medicine, pharmacy, and the natural sciences. In 1816 he met the mineralogist Alexandre Brongniart, who hired him as his secretary and had a notable influence on Audouin’s scientific career. In the same year Audouin published his first entomological work, and in 1820 he read his important paper, “Recherches anatomiques sur le thorax des animaux articulés et celui des insectes en particulier,” before the Académie des Sciences. This report won him the praise of Cuvier and was printed in 1824. He and other naturalists founded the Société d’Histoire Naturelle de Paris in 1822, and in 1824 he began publication of the Annales des sciences naturelles, an important scientific periodical still in existence. His collaborators on the journal were Adolphe Brongniart and Jean-Baptiste Dumas, both of whom later became his brothers-in-law. In 1825 he became assistant to Lamarck and Latreille at the Museum of Natural History in Paris; and the following year he was asked to finish the work of Savigny (then incapacitated by serious eye trouble) on the invertebrates collected during the Egyptian expedition of 1798–1799.
The same year, 1826, Audouin and Henri Milne Edwards began a course of anatomical, physiological, and biological research on the marine invertebrates of the Breton and Norman coast. These were pioneer studies of this type in France. It was also in 1826 that Audouin presented his doctoral thesis on the chemical, pharmaceutical, and medical natural history of the cantharides. On 6 December 1827, he married Mathilde Brongniart, who became his collaborator because of her talent as a draftsman; in 1827 and 1828 he and Milne Edwards published the results of their anatomical and physiological research on crustacea. In 1830 he replaced Latreille as assistant naturalist at the Natural History Museum. He and Milne Edwards then published, in 1832, the first volume of their Recherches pour servir à l’histoire naturelle du littoral de la France. This work initiated the bionomic classification of coastal marine invertebrates. Also in 1832, Audouin and other entomologists founded the Société Entomologique de France, and in 1833 he succeeded Latreille as professor of zoology (in the chair dealing with crustacea, arachnids, and insects) at the Natural History Museum. From 1834 on, he specialized in agricultural entomology, and in 1836–1837 he confirmed the observations of Agostino Bassi concerning the muscardine of the silkworm (Beauveria bassiana). On 5 February 1838, Audouin was elected a member of the Académie des Sciences (Section d’Économic Rurale). He died after a short illness, and his Histoire naturelle des insectes nuisibles à la vigne was finished by his collaborator, Émile Blanchard, and his friend Henri Milne Edwards, in 1842.
Audouin’s work is both that of a scrupulously careful morphologist and anatomist of Cuvier’s school, and that of a biologist who has left behind important observations on the physiology of crustacea as well as on the ethology of various insects harmful to cultivated plants. This last phase of his research marks Audouin’s work as the precursor of modern applied entomology.
I. Original Works. Audouin’s published works include “Recherches anatomiques sur le thorax des animaux articulés et celui des insectes en particulier,” in Annales des sciences naturelles, 1 (1824), 97–135, 416–432; “Recherches pour servir à l’histoire naturelle des Cantharides,” ibid., 9 (1826), 31–61; “Recherches anatomiques et physiologiques sur la circulation dans les crustacés,” written with Henri Milne Edwards, ibid., 11 (1827), 283–314, 352–393; “Recherches anatomiques sur le système nerveux des crustacés,” written with Henri Milne Edwards, ibid., 14 (1828), 77–102; Recherches pour servir à l’histoire naturelle du littoral de la France ou Recueil de mémoires sur l’anatomie, la physiologie, la classification et les moeurs des animaux de nos côtes, written with Henri Milne Edwards, 2 vols. (Paris, 1832–1834); “Recherches anatomiques et physiologiques sur la maladie contagieuse qui attaque les vers à soie, et qu’on désigne sous le nom de muscardine,” in Annales des sciences naturelles (zoologie), 8the series, 2 (1837), 229–245; “Nouvelles expériences sur la nature de la maladie contagieuse qui attaque les vers à soie et qu’on désigne sous le non de muscardine,” ibid., 257–270; and Histoire des insectes nuisibles à la vigne et particulièrement de la pyrale (Paris, 1842), completed by Émile Blanchard and Henri Milne Edwards.
Numerous manuscripts, drawings, and letters of Audouin’s are in the Archives de la Famille Audouin, Archives de l’Académie des Sciences, Bibliothèque de l’Institut, Bibliothéque du Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, and Archives de la Société Entomologique de France—all in Paris; and the Wellcome Historical Medical Library and the Library of the British Museum of Natural History—both in London.
II. Secondary Literature. More on Audouin and his work can be found in M. Duponchel, “Notice sur la vie et les travaux de Jean-Victor Audouin,” in Annales de la Société Entomologique de France, 11 (1842), 95–164; H. Milne Edwards, Notice sur la vie et les travaux de Victor Audouin (Paris, 1850); and Jean Théodoridès, “Jean-Victor Audouin, Journal d’un étudiant en médecine et en sciences à Paris sous la Restauration (1817–1818),” texte inédit, in Histoire de la médecine, 9 (Nov. 1958), 4–63; ibid. (Dec. 1958), 5–56; 10 (Jan. 1959), 5–48; “La Rhénanie en 1835 vue par un naturaliste français,” unpublished letters, in Sudhoffs Archiv, 43 (1959), 233–253; and “Les débuts de la biologie marine en France: Jean-Victor Audouin et Henri Milne Edwards, 1826–1829,” in Actes du 1erCongrès International d’Histoire de l’Océanographie (Monaco, 1966), 1968.