Willughby, Francis

Willughby, Francis

Willughby, Francis (wĭlˈəbē), 1635–72, English naturalist. He is known especially for his early systematic work on birds and fishes, in which he made some of the most important contributions before those of Linnaeus. He toured the Continent with John Ray, collecting material for his Ornithologia (1676, in Latin), translated into English by Ray as The Ornithology of Francis Willughby (1678). Ray also published Willughby's De Historia piscium (1686).
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Willughby, Francis


Born 1635 in Middleton; died there July 3,1672. English naturalist and traveler.

In his research and writings, Willughby collaborated closely with J. Ray. Between 1663 and 1666 he traveled extensively in Europe, collecting specimens of animals that he later began classifying according to morphological features and habitat. He was able, however, to work out a classification system only for birds and fish before his untimely death. The material he left behind was completed and published by Ray.

Willughby and Ray’s system for classifying animals was later developed further by C. Linnaeus.


The Ornithology of Francis Willughby, in Three Books. London, 1678.
De historiapiscium. Oxford, 1686.


Plavil’shchikov, N. N. Ocherki poistorii zoologii. Moscow, 1941.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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