The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Müller, Otto Frederik

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

MÜLLER, Otto Frederik, a Danish naturalist, born in Copenhagen in March, 1730, died Dec. 26, 1784. He was educated for the church, became tutor to a young nobleman, and after several years' travel with him settled in Copenhagen in 1767, and married a lady of wealth. His first important works, Fauna Insectorum Friedrichsdaliana (Leipsic, 1764), and Flora Friedrichsdaliana (Strasburg, 1767), recommended him to Frederick V. of Denmark, by whom he was employed to continue the Flora of Denmark, and he added two volumes to the three published by Oeder since 1761. The study of zoölogy, and particularly of the minute animals, meanwhile began to occupy his attention almost exclusively, and in 1771 he produced a work in German on “Certain Worms inhabiting Fresh and Salt Water,” which described many new species of those annulose animals called by Linnæus aphroditæ and nereides, and gave much additional information respecting their habits. In his Vermium Terrestrium et Fluviatilium, seu Animalium Infusoriorum, Helminthecorum, et Testaceorum non Marinorum, succincta Historia (2 vols. 4to, Copenhagen and Leipsic, l773-'4), he arranged the infusoria for the first time into genera and species. His Hydrachnæ in Aquis Daniæ Palustribus detectæ et descriptæ (Leipsic, 1781), and Entomostraca (1785), describe many species of minute animals previously unknown. To these was added an illustrated work on the infusoria, published in 1786. These three works, according to Cuvier, give the author “a place in the first rank of those naturalists who have enriched science with original observations.” His Zoologica Danica, which was intended to correspond in the animal kingdom with the Flora Danica in the vegetable, was commenced in 1779, but only two parts, each containing 40 plates, were finished by him.