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Riley Charles Valentine

Portrait of Charles Valentine Riley The American scientist and entomologist Charles Valentine Riley (1843-1895) is considered the "father of biological pest control". In 1863 he began to publish entomological records of the American insects, which he used to make numerous drawings. In 1868 he founded the journal "The American Entomologist". Special merit he acquired in the fight against migratory locusts, which caused great damage in many western US states in the period 1873-1877.

The French botanist Jules Émile Planchon (1823-1888) came in 1873 on his study trip to the United States regarding his research on the solution of the phylloxera problem with Riley, who at the time was an entomologist for the state Missouri was responsible. Riley advised Planchon on the considerations regarding the use of American documents and suggested this as one of the first for the finishing in front. Riley also proved beyond any doubt that the insect, which is still unknown in Europe, is identical to the American one phylloxera was - so it had to come from there. Together with Georg Engelmann, Alexis Millardet, Jules Émile Planchon and Pierre Viala He is considered the savior of European viticulture before phylloxera.

Riley made contact with the American for the French experts nurseries in Missouri, which subsequently supplied millions of documents mainly to France but also other countries. Among them were creations of the Swiss immigrant breeder Hermann Hunter (1844-1895). This was not the final solution, as many of them, such as the species Vitis labrusca not tolerate the European soil, but a first important step to solve the problem. In 1878 he became an entomologist at the Department of Agriculture of the United States. Among his pioneering achievements include the studies on the periodic cicada "Magicicada" with their 13 or 17 year life cycles. Riley published his research in 1892 and was able to explain many of the questions at that time through Darwin's theory of evolution. Its insect collection is owned by the Smithsonian Institution today and consists of 115,000 prepared animals of 20,000 species, 2,800 bottles and 3,000 drawers of specimens. He died relatively young by a tragic bicycle accident. Another US entomologist related to the phylloxera was Asa Fitch (1809-1879).

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