November 17, 2009
From: Gary Cobb
Concerning message #19164:
Hi Bill and everyone!
Diving at Old Woman Island again has proven successful. After only 8 minutes of diving I found 8 species. Shortly after that I turned over a rock and found Discodoris schmeltziana with it's egg mass.
Locality: Old Woman Island, Mudjimba Beach, 12 m depth, Queensland, Australia, Pacific Ocean, 07 November 2009, Subtidal. Length: 85 mm long. Photographer: Gary Cobb.
Under natural light you can see the faint purple spots around the mantle margin. Where did the name come from?
PS. we have found another 3 new species the next day which brings our total to 403 species. When will it stop?
Cobb, G., 2009 (Nov 17) Discodoris schmeltziana found sthn Queensland. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/22767
Your question about who was Schmeltz, raises an interesting example of how early European scientists obtained their 'exotic' specimens.
Dr. Johann Schmeltz was director of the Museum Godeffroy in Hamburg between 1861-82.
Capt Godeffroy was a wealthy trader and shipping magnate wtih shipping and trading interests in the Pacific and Australian regions, including the collecting, preparation and sale of biological and ethnographical specimens which were then sold throughout Europe and Nth American museums and universities. He had a virtual monopoly on human skulls and bones which were big business amongst European anthroplogists of the time. The company also funded collectorsof biological specimens. One of particular fame for opisthobranch enthusiasts was the collector Andrew Garrett [Risbecia tryoni] much of whose material was worked on by Rudolph Bergh [hence Risbecia godeffroyana and Discodoris schmeltziana].
The Semper brothers, one of whom [C. G. Semper] edited the voluminous Reisen im Archipel der Philippinen in which Bergh published much of his work, were also part of the Godeffroy 'gang'. The zoological collections in this museum was sold to the Zoological Museum of Hamburg in 1886 after the Godeffroy company struck financial trouble.
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