Michele Lessona

Michele Lessona (20 September 1823, Venaria Reale, Piedmont – 20 July 1894, Turin) was an Italian zoologist.

Michele Lessona
Born(1823-09-20)20 September 1823
Died20 July 1894(1894-07-20) (aged 70)
Turin, Italy
Alma materUniversity of Turin
Scientific career
FieldsNatural sciences, Zoology

Michele Lessona became a specialist in amphibians. His accomplishments include the translation of certain works of Darwin, for example, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex.


Lessona studied medicine in Turin, afterwards relocating to Egypt, where he worked in a hospital outside of Cairo as hospital director at Karnak.[1] From 1850 he studied natural sciences at Turin, and in the meantime found employment as a secondary school teacher. In 1854 he attained the chair of mineralogy and zoology at the University of Genoa.

In 1862, with Filippo de Filippi, he took part in a scientific and diplomatic mission to Persia, and after his return to Italy, he was named chair of zoology at the University of Bologna in 1863.[1] In 1867 he became chair of zoology and comparative anatomy at the University of Turin.[2] He was the first to translate The Descent of Man into Italian in 1871.[3] He was also a Senator of the Kingdom from 1877-1894.[1]


Lessona has several herpetological species named after him, such as Pelophylax lessonae,[4] Diploglossus lessonae,[5] and Trapelus lessonae.[5]


Partial list

  • Volere è potere [it], 1869. Florence.
  • Carlo Darwin. 1883. Reissued by Kessinger, 2009, ISBN 978-1-104-06962-9.
  • Venti anni fa 1884. Reissued by Kessinger, 2009, ISBN 978-1-104-52050-2.
  • Le cacce in Persia. 1884. Rome. Reissued by Kessinger, 2010, ISBN 9781167477102.


  1. ^ a b c Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2013-04-22). The Eponym Dictionary of Amphibians. Pelagic Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907807-42-8.
  2. ^ Library of the Department of Animal and Human Biology – Università degli Studi di Torino Archived 2013-02-18 at Archive.today (biographical information)
  3. ^ Glick, Thomas F.; Shaffer, Elinor (2014-05-22). The Literary and Cultural Reception of Charles Darwin in Europe. A&C Black. ISBN 978-1-78093-712-0.
  4. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2013). The Eponym Dictionary of Amphibians. Exeter, England: Pelagic Publishing Ltd. xiii + 262 pp. ISBN 978-1-907807-41-1. ("Lessona", p. 124).
  5. ^ a b Beolens B, Watkins M, Grayson M (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Lessona", p. 156).

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