Müller, J F T (Fritz)


Fritz Müller (1822–1897), German naturalist, was one of the great Darwinians of the nineteenth century. Educated in math and science in what was then part of Prussia, he emigrated to Brazil in 1852; in the forests and ocean of the province of Santa Catarina, he found a rich diversity of organisms for study, especially marine and freshwater Crustacea, insects and flowering plants. From original observations of morphology, development, physiology and behaviour, he documented the power of natural selection in the evolution of adaptations. He encountered Darwin's in its German translation in 1861, tested its salient points in the Crustacea and endorsed them. Although he and Darwin were half a world apart, they recognised many common interests through correspondence and publications, and Müller became Darwin's closest intellectual kin.

Keywords: adaptation; atheism; biogenetic law; cross‐fertilisation; Darwin; heterostyly; lepidopteran scent; mimicry; natural selection

Figure 1. Heterostyly in Rudgea jasminoides. (a) Anther height and pollen grain of short‐styled form. (b) Style length and pollen grain of long‐styled form. C. Darwin 1877.
Figure 2. Evolution of metamorphosis. (a) A newly hatched crab Trichodactylus from a freshwater rivulet, resembling a tiny adult. Carapace about 2.5 mm across. A. Möller, ed. 1892, Werke, plate LXIX, Figure . (b) Newly hatched larva (zoea) typical of marine crabs and those of large rivers. About 0.8 × 1.2 mm. F. Müller 1869.
Figure 3. Fritz Müller in characteristic garb (1886). A. Möller 1921.

Further Reading

Longstaff GB (1912) Butterfly‐Hunting in Many Lands. London: Longmans, Green. (Translations of Müller's papers on lepidopteran scent.)

Möller A (1893) Die Pilzgärten einiger südamerikanischer Ameisen. Botanische Mitteilungen aus den Tropen. vol. 6. Jena: G. Fischer.

Möller A (ed.) (1915–1921) Fritz Müller. Werke, Briefe und Leben (publications, letters and life). Vol. 1 (1915) Gesammelte Schriften. Vol. 3 (1920) Briefe und noch nicht veröffentliche Abhandlungen. Vol. 2 (1921) Fritz Müllers Leben. Jena: Gustav Fischer.

Müller F (1869) Facts and Arguments for Darwin, translated by WS Dallas. London: John Murray.

Müller F (1879) Ituna and Thyridia; a remarkable case of mimicry in butterflies, translated by R Meldola. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of London 27: xx–xxix.

Müller H (1883) The Fertilisation of Flowers by Insects and Their Reciprocal Adaptations, translated by DW Thomson. London: Macmillan.

Schmidt‐Loske K, Westerkamp C, Schneckenburger S and Wagele JW (eds) (2013) Fritz und Hermann Müller – Naturforschung Für Darwin. Rangsdorf: Basilisken‐Presse der Natur.

West DA (2003) Fritz Müller, a Naturalist in Brazil. Blacksburg: Pocahontas Press.

Winsor MP (1976) Starfish, Jellyfish, and the Order of Life. New Haven: Yale University Press. [Alexander Agassiz].

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West, David A(Feb 2015) Müller, J F T (Fritz). In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0002881]