Entomology and biogeography of the Himalaya: Frederick W. Hope (1839) and Mahadeva S. Mani (1968)

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Reverend Frederick William Hope, whose name is celebrated at the University of Oxford as the 'HopeEntomological Collections', which houses c. 3.5 million specimens, wrote an article entitled 'theentomology of the Himalayas and India' in the Saharanpur botanist John Forbes Royle's Illustrationsof the Botany and other Branches of the Natural History of the Himalayan Mountains and of the Flora ofCashmere (1839). In this article, he elaborately talks of various insect taxa, most importantly of thenature of their distribution along the Himalaya and elsewhere in India. His remarks on thebiogeography of the Himalaya are striking and foreshadow the biological thoughts that were verbalizedin later decades. For instance he talks of 'ecological selection', although sketchily, looking at thevariations and forms of the Himalayan Coleoptera he examined by obtaining from various Englishand European museums. Reading this article and the depth at which Hope had analyzed thebiogeography of the Himalayan insects, I felt provoked to explore Mahadeva S Mani's commentarieson the insects of the Himalaya, taking his chapter on the Himalayan insects in his monumental bookthe Ecology and biogeography of high-altitude insects (1968). The present article is a synthesis of keyelements from Hope (1839) and Mani (1968). Notwithstanding the fact that the Himalaya, by itself, isa mammoth biome of unique biota, the insects living in that distinct biome are no way different. HowHope's remarks gel with those of Charles Darwin and how Mani relates to both Hope and Darwin interms of their phenomenology form the remainder of this article.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-105
Number of pages9
JournalIndian Journal of Entomology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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