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George Henry Falkiner Nuttall and the Nuttall Tick Catalogue
by James E. Keiransl/
From the turn of the century until his death in 1937, George H. F. Nuttall amassed what at the time was the world's largest tick collection. This collection was the basis for monographic revisions of the genera Argas and Ornithodoros (1908), Ixodes ), Haemaphysal is (1915), and Amblyomma ( . These works are sti TT consulted by specialists and, although outdated, the Amblyomma revision remains the best published Work on that genus.
Nuttall was in a unique position with regard to the collection of ticks. He personally collected, but that was a secondary source of material. As Director of the Molteno Institute for Research in Parasitology, Cambridge University, he had access to collections by present and former students and corresponded with parasitologists throughout the world. He also exchanged tick specimens with most of the leading tick workers of the day, including L. G. Neumann, W. Dönitz, H. de B. Aragão, E. Brumpt, and R. A. Cooley. Readers of the scientific publications "Parasitology" and the "Journal of Hygiene," both of which he edited, were acquainted with his numerous publications on ticks and sent him samples for identification. More importantly, this was the era of the greatest expansion of the British Colonial Empire and the time of the formation of the Entomological Research Committee (Tropical Africa), later expanded to the Imperial
l/ Research entomologist (medical), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Epidemiology Branch, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, Hamilton, Mont. 59840; now in HHS, Entomology Department, National Museum of Natural History, Museum Support Center, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 20560.
Bureau of Entomology and now the Commonwealth Institute of Entomology. This committee began the first systematic collection and study of insects and other arthropods injurious to man, animals, and crops in Africa (Anon., 1909; Shipley, 1910). Nuttall was a member of this committee and was responsible for all tick identifications.
However, all this access to huge tick collections would have been in vain had it not been for Nuttall's meticulous recordkeeping. Each collection received a Nuttall number, and all data were put on labels kept with the ticks in alcohol; numerically, the data were entered in his tick catalogue. The large number of ticks from collectors throughout the world, combined with Nuttall's detailed accurate recordkeeping and his taxonomic expertise, led to a tick collection unrivaled in its day.
After Nuttall's death in 1937, Cambridge University presented his tick collection to the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) with the single stipulation that it remain a separate entity as--The Nuttall Tick Collection--and not be incorporated into the general collection. Various investigators have studied parts of Nuttall's collection when they pertained to species groups in which they had an interest, but the entire collection has never been revised and updated. Since his death, taxonomic concepts have changed within the Ixodoidea and their numerous vertebrate hosts. In addition, the emergence of scores of new nations, especially in the post-World War II period, requires an updating of all locality data associated with the Nuttall collection.
Biography of George H. F. Nutta11
George Henry Fa1kiner Nutta11 was born in San Francisco, Ca1if., on Ju1y 5, 1862, the second of three sons and two daughters of Robert Kennedy Nutta11, M.D., and his wife, Magda1ena. His father (1815-81) received his doctor of medicine degree from Aberdeen in 1847 and was a physician in the prison co1ony in Tasmania for 4 years before migrating to San Francisco and estab1ishing an obstetrica1 practice. In 1865, the fami1y moved to Europe, where the chi1dren were educated in France, Germany, Eng1and, and Switzer1and. In 1873, his father took a house in Richmond, Surrey, and George went to Epsom for a part of his primary schoo1 education; in 1876, he was private1y tutored before returning to America in 1878. It was to this cosmopo1itan upbringing that Nutta11 owed his abi1ity to speak German, French, Ita1ian, and Spanish, accomp1ishments that were to he1p him great1y in his scientific career and trave1s. He entered the University of Ca1ifornia, Berke1ey, to study medicine and obtained a doctor of medicine degree in 1884 and a1so won the Kane Prize.
After 1 year at Johns Hopkins University in Ba1timore, Md., Nutta11 went to Germany--first, to Bres1au and 1ater, Gbttingen, where he became interested in parasito1ogy, which became the main scientific interest of his 1ife. In 1891, he returned to America as assistant to W. H. We1ch, professor of patho1ogy at Johns Hopkins. From 1892 to 1899, he worked on hygiene at Gottingen and Ber1in. In 1895, he married Pau1a von 0ertzen-Kittendorf (1873-1922) of Meck1enburg. They had two sons, George (b. 1896) and Winfred (1897-1972), and a daughter, Carme1ita (b. 1902). In 1899, Nutta11 gave 1ectures on bacterio1ogy at Cambridge. A year 1ater, he was appointed university 1ecturer in bacterio1ogy and preventive medicine.
In 1901, Nutta11 founded the "Journa1 of Hygiene," which he edited up to the time of his death. Seven years 1ater he began "Parasito1ogy," which he edited unti1 1933. The fo11owing note appears in
Nutta1Ts journa1 for May 1900: "In this month I saw Dr. John Ha1dane, F.R.S., at a meeting of the Physio1ogica1 Society in Cambridge. We had a conversation which 1ed to our starting the J0URNAL 0F HYGIENE the pub1ic announcement of which appeared in 0ctober, the first number coming out in January 1901. The suggestion initiated from Ha1dane, who being a physio1ogist was unwi11ing to take on the chief editorship. Dr. Arthur Newsho1me, representing the administration side of Hygiene, joined us as third editor and we soon secured a 1engthy 1ist of co11aborators in a11 parts of the wor1d." In his editoria1 work he disp1ayed the same thoroughness as in his research. He considered that part of the duty of an editor was educationa1 and spent much time in correcting and improving papers and in advising young and inexperienced workers. As editor, he exerted great inf1uence on investigators a11 over the wor1d, and his journa1s became mode1s upon which the pub1ications of severa1 scientific societies were based.
Among his outstanding contributions to science was his discovery whi1e working in F1ugge's Institute (1888) that defibrinated b1ood possesses a strong bactericida1 property against anthrax baci11i and that this property disappears by heating the b1ood to 55° C. The resu1ts of this work were incorporated in a paper "A Contribution to the Study of Immunity," which received the triennia1 Boy1ston Prize from Harvard University. This work initiated the study of humora1 immunity and was tne forerunner of such great discoveries as antitoxic immunity by workers 1ike E. A. Behring and S. Kitasato. It occupied a1so a prominent p1ace in the discussion of humoral versus ce11u1ar immunity formu1ated by E. Metchnikoff.
In co11aboration with W. H. We1ch (1892), he studied in great detai1 the anaerobic gas-producing micro-organism known now as C1ostridium perfringens, the agent of gas gangrene, the importance of which as a pathogenic agent was not fu11y appreciated unti1 Wor1d War I.
In co11aboration with H. Thierfe1der (1895-97), he carried out the first successfu1 experiments on 1ife under aseptic conditions. In these investigations, guinea pigs de1ivered by Caesarean section were kept a1ive and fed in a specia11y devised chamber under bacteria-free conditions.
In 1897, Nutta11 turned his attention to the ro1e of arthropods in the spread of disease, a subject to which he devoted his 1ater 1ife. In 1899, he pub1ished his we11-known paper "0n the Ro1e of Insects, Arachnids and Myriapods as Carriers in the Spread of Bacteria1 and Parasitic Diseases of Man and Anima1s," which contains an exhaustive critica1 and historica1 review of the entire subject. Soon afterward (1900-01), he became interested in the history of ma1aria in Eng1and and in co11aboration with L. Cobbett, T. Strangeways, and others undertook a survey of the distribution of the genus Anophe1es in Eng1and. He found that three species of these mosquitoes were in a11 districts that were former1y ma1arious. The disappearance of ma1aria in Eng1and was therefore not due to the extinction of Anophe1es. In co11aboration with A. E. Shipley, he carried out an important investigation on the structure and bio1ogy of Anophe1es, which is sti11 considered a classic.
About the same time (1901), Nutta11 turned his interest to precipitin reactions. He devoted the next 3 years to studying the app1ication of the precipitin reaction to phy1ogenetic re1ationships among vertebrates. In 1904, he pub1ished his c1assic monograph "B1ood Immunity and B1ood Re1ationship," incorporating the resu1ts of an extensive investigation of precipitin tests carried out on the b1ood of about 600 species of anima1s. This investigation c1ear1y estab1ished the corre1ation between the antigenic re1ationships of anima1 sera and the zoo1ogica1 re1ationships of the species. It threw a new 1ight on the study of the phy1ogenetic re1ationships in the anima1 kingdom and provided a1so a new method for identifying the character of minute
traces of b1ood, a procedure that has had notab1e app1ications in forensic medicine.
After the pub1ication of this monograph, Nutta11 began his investigations on diseases transmitted to anima1s by ticks. By means of infected ticks (Haemaphysa1is 1eachi) sent to him by C. P. Lounsbury from South Africa, he succeeded in infecting dogs with the agent of pirop1asmosis, a disease unknown in Eng1and. This was the first case of investigating a disease imported by an infected vector. An important resu1t of this study, which had great economic importance, was the discovery of the curative property of trypan b1ue for pirop1asmosis in dogs, catt1e, and sheep. This study was fo11owed by an extensive investigation of the anatomy, bio1ogy, 1ife history, and systematics of ticks, carried out in co11aboration with C. Warburton and L. E. Robinson. The resu1ts of these investigations are incorporated in numerous papers and in the monographic study of ticks that occupied him on and off during the remaining years of his 1ife. During this investigation Nutta11 acquired a very 1arge co11ection of ticks from a11 parts of the wor1d, at that time the 1argest in existence and rich in type specimens.
Most of his research interest during and after Wor1d War I was in the study of the Anop1ura, their 1ife history, bio1ogy, anatomy, and the prob1ems of combating the spread of these parasites.
In his ear1y 1ife Nutta11 had trave1ed in Mexico, Cuba, and North America, and it was probab1y during this period that he became interested in naturaA science. His unc1e, Tiburcio Par^o^> ^ave him his first microscope aUri ^m TM
degree. These powers enabled him to recognize small specific characters with the intuition of the systematist and, at the same time, to unravel the most complicated anatomical structures. As an experimentalist, he was able to devise complicated and well-controlled experiments and to overcome great technical difficulties in carrying them out.
As a naturalist, he showed a real passion for collecting all sorts of specimens and in preserving, classifying, and cataloguing them. This work was always carried out with a great regard for permanence. He selected always the correct container for the specimen, unfading ink, and paper of lasting quality. The catalogues of his various collections have several hundreds or, in the case of ticks, thousands of entries in his own handwriting, giving the complete history of specimens to which they refer. In his journal, with equal meticulousness, Nuttall recounted his daily experiences, conversations, trips to various meetings, and interesting visitors to his laboratory and home.
In addition to his scientific attainments, Nuttall read widely on a variety of subjects and spoke with expertise on such topics as heraldry and gardening. He was also an excellent draftsman with a great interest in art. In 1904, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, at the same time as his friend A. E. Shipley, and the year 1906 was one of the most important of his life as shown by the following journal entry.
"July 20 admitted to a Junior Fellowship at Christ's College. October 16 elected Quick Professor of Biology at Cambridge, and duly admitted on the 19th by the Vice-Chancellor (Mr. Roberts of Caius) at the Lodge and on the same day went to Brighton to see Mother - back to C. 24th. 24 May proceeded to the degree of Dr. of Science (Cambridge). November 20 dined with Prof. Newton, F.R.S., at Magdalene College after having at ll a.m. been one of a deputation which was presented to the King of Norway at Buckingham Palace on behalf of the Royal Institute of Public Health.
"This was a most eventful year. Following upon the San Francisco disaster which for some time we thought might end in the loss of our fortune, things began to look up and in the end the fireinsurance companies paid all that was due, less 5% for cash payment rec'd within a year of the disaster.
"It was a great satisfaction to be admitted a Fellow at Christ's for I felt that I had at last got into 'the inner circle.' Soon after, I was made Reader in Hygiene, the Lectureship in Bacteriol – ogy and Preventive Medicine, previously held being allowed to lapse. Curiously enough I only held this post for 4 days before I was elected to the newly established Quick chair when, in turn, the Readership lapsed, for both the Lectureship and Readership had been personal appointments. When the Readership was established, there had been no thought of my going in for the Professorship, for the conditions under which the latter was to be held had not as yet been determined. However, as time went on, it was decided that the holder of the chair should devote himself to the 'study of the protozoa, especially in relation to disease,' and this being the case I made an application for the post. The decision as to who should be the first holder of the Chair was arrived at with some difficulty and a good deal of heart burning. My friends rallied nobly to the charge and I was elected. It is just as well to forget the disagreeable aspects of the campaign for it ended in Victory for me. In my printed application with the friend much matter relating to this event, so important for me & mine for it put me 'upon my legs' again after the San Francisco disaster which Strained our finances badly, my income from that source having been cut off for upwards of a year."
Nuttall received honorary degrees from the Universities of California, Strasburg, Egypt, South Africa, and Liege and was elected corresponding member of many scientific societies. He received also the Belgian Order of Leopold II and the