This Day In History: 1819-07-10


Pieter Bleeker (1819 – 1878) was born on this day.
He was a Dutch ichthyologist and physician, one of the greatest ichthyologists of all time. Bleeker was a medical officer in the East Indian Army, stationed for most of his career in Batavia (now Jakarta), in the Dutch East Indies. Bleeker’s work represents the most prolific of any Indo-Pacific ichthyologist, he described 1,925 new species (more than any other ichthyologist) of which 743 remain valid and described 520 genera, of which 298 remain valid (more valid genera than any other ichthyologist).
He is famous for his Atlas Ichthyologique des Orientales Neerlandaises, a monumental work on the fishes of East Asia published between 1862 and 1877. On his return to the Netherlands in 1860 he brought home a huge collection, some 18,000 specimens, most of which are now in the Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historie in Leiden.

Bleeker is honoured in the names of a fish genus, Bleekeria, and in the names of a number of around a 100 species under bleekeri, and bleekianus.