Erna Mohr

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Erna Mohr
Erna Mohr.jpg
Born(1894-07-11)July 11, 1894
Hamburg, Germany
DiedSeptember 10, 1968(1968-09-10) (aged 74)
Scientific career
Institutions Zoological Museum Hamburg

Erna W. Mohr (July 11, 1894 – September 10, 1968) was a German zoologist who made contributions to ichthyology and mammalogy. Mohr was long associated with the Zoological Museum Hamburg, where she was successively head of the Fish Biology Department, Department of Higher Vertebrates, and Curator of the Vertebrate Department. She was a member of the Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and held an honorary doctorate from the University of Munich. [1] [2]

Ichthyology Branch of zoology devoted to the study of fish

Ichthyology, also known as fish science, is the branch of zoology devoted to the study of fish. This includes bony fish (Osteichthyes), cartilaginous fish (Chondrichthyes), and jawless fish (Agnatha). While a large number of species have been discovered, around 250 new species are officially described each year. According to FishBase, 33,400 species of fish had been described as of October 2016.

Mammalogy the study of mammals

In zoology, mammalogy is the study of mammals – a class of vertebrates with characteristics such as homeothermic metabolism, fur, four-chambered hearts, and complex nervous systems. Mammalogy has also been known as "mastology," "theriology," and "therology." There are about 4,200 different species of mammals. The major branches of mammalogy include natural history, taxonomy and systematics, anatomy and physiology, ethology, ecology, and management and control. The approximate salary of a mammalogist varies from $20,000 to $60,000 a year, depending on their experience. Mammalogists are typically involved in activities such as conducting research, managing personnel, and writing proposals.

The Academy of Sciences Leopoldina is the national academy of Germany.


Mohr was born in Hamburg, the daughter of a school teacher, and aside from some time in Schleswig-Holstein lived for most of her life in Hamburg. Between 1914 and 1934 she taught high school while volunteering at the Zoological Museum Hamburg and also published scholarly and popular scientific articles. At the Zoological Museum she began working with Ernst Ehrenbaum on age determination in fishes, where she is credited to have been the first to use ctenoid scales to estimate age. [1] She later worked with Georg Duncker on fish taxonomy, including works on the viviparous halfbeaks (Zenarchopteridae), sand lances (Ammodytidae) and shrimpfish (Centriscidae). After Duncker's retirement in 1934, Mohr became head of the Fish Biology department, and in 1936 became head of the Department of Higher Vertebrates. She became Curator of the Vertebrate Department in 1946. [1]

Hamburg City in Germany

Hamburg is the second-largest city in Germany with a population of over 1.8 million.

Schleswig-Holstein State in Germany

Schleswig-Holstein is the northernmost of the 16 states of Germany, comprising most of the historical duchy of Holstein and the southern part of the former Duchy of Schleswig. Its capital city is Kiel; other notable cities are Lübeck and Flensburg.

Ernst M. E. Ehrenbaum was a German biologist and oceanographer.

She also worked extensively with mammals, publishing on rodents, seals, hoofed-mammals, and other groups. [3] She became a member of the American Society of Mammalogists in 1928, [4] [lower-alpha 1] and in 1959 she wrote a monograph on the endangered Przewalski's horse, a "pre-emininet compendium... that can never be surpassed for its firsthand accounts of the early history of the species". [5] She compiled studbooks for the Przewalski's horse and European bison, and was active in reintroduction efforts for the latter. [6] [7]

The American Society of Mammalogists (ASM) was founded in 1919. Its primary purpose is to encourage the study of mammals, and professions studying them. There are over 4,500 members of this society, and they are primarily professional scientists who emphasize the importance of public policy and education. There are several ASM meetings held each year and the society manages several publications such as The Journal of Mammalogy, Special Publications, Mammalian Species, and Society Pamphlets. The most well known of these is The Journal of Mammalogy. The ASM also maintains The Mammal Image Library which contains more than 1300 mammal slides. A president, vice president, recording secretary, secretary-treasurer, and journal editor are all elected by the members to be officers of the society. In addition, ASM is composed of thirty one committees, including the Animal Care and Use Committee, the Conservation Awards Committee, the International Relations Committee, and the Publications Committee. It also provides numerous grants and awards for research and studies on mammals. These awards can go to both scientists and students. The ASM also lists employment opportunities for their members.

Przewalskis horse subspecies of mammal

Przewalski's horse, also called the Mongolian wild horse or Dzungarian horse, is a rare and endangered horse native to the steppes of central Asia. At one time extinct in the wild, it has been reintroduced to its native habitat in Mongolia at the Khustain Nuruu National Park, Takhin Tal Nature Reserve, and Khomiin Tal. The taxonomic position is still debated, with some taxonomists treating Przewalski's horse as a species, E. przewalskii, others as a subspecies of wild horse or a feral variety of the domesticated horse.

European bison Eurasian species of mammal

The European bison, also known as wisent or the European wood bison, is a Eurasian species of bison. It is one of two extant species of bison, alongside the American bison. Three subspecies existed in the recent past, but only one survives today. Analysis of mitochondrial genomes and nuclear DNA revealed that the wisent is theoretically the result of hybridization between the extinct Steppe bison and the ancestors of the aurochs since their genetic material contains up to 10% aurochs genomic ancestry; the possible hybrid is referred to informally as the Higgs bison, a play-on-words in reference to the Higgs boson. Alternatively, the Pleistocene woodland bison has been suggested as the ancestor to the species.

Mohr produced over 400 publications during her career. She received an honorary doctorate from the University of Munich in 1950. [1] In 1966 she was elected an Honorary Member of the American Society of Mammalogists, the Society's most esteemed honor, and as of 1996 was the only woman to have been so rewarded. [4] [3]

Mohr died in Hamburg in 1968. She was buried in the Ohlsdorf Cemetery's Garden of Women, with a statue of a hutia (a large rodent) marking her grave.

Ohlsdorf Cemetery cemetery in Hamburg, Germany

Ohlsdorf Cemetery in the Ohlsdorf quarter of the city of Hamburg, Germany, is the biggest rural cemetery in the world and the fourth-largest cemetery in the world. Most of the people buried at the cemetery are civilians, but there is also a large number of victims of war from various nations. The cemetery notably includes the Old Hamburg Memorial Cemetery with the graves of many notable Hamburg citizens.

Hutia family of mammals

Hutias are moderately large cavy-like rodents of the family Capromyidae that inhabit the Caribbean Islands. Twenty species of hutia have been identified, and at least a third are extinct. Only Desmarest's hutia and the prehensile-tailed hutia remain common and widespread; all other extant species are considered threatened by the IUCN. Their larger relatives, the giant hutias of the family Heptaxodontidae, are entirely extinct.

A hutia statue stands beside Mohr's grave in Ohlsdorf Cemetery. Garten-der-frauen-mohr-baumratte (cropped).JPG
A hutia statue stands beside Mohr's grave in Ohlsdorf Cemetery.


A species of fossil salamander (Grippiella mohrae) [8] and bat mite (Ichoronyssus mohrae) [9] were named after Mohr. In 1984, on what would have been her 90th birthday, a street in Neuallermöhe, Hamburg, was named Erna Mohr Kehre ("Erna Mohr Turn"). [10]

Neuallermöhe Quarter of Hamburg in Germany

Neuallermöhe  is a quarter of Hamburg, Germany, in the borough of Bergedorf. In 2016 the population was over 23,000.

Starting from the German Enzyklopädie der Tiere ("Encyclopedia of the animals") edited by Wilhelm Eigener and publisher by Westermann Verlag in 1971 for its first edition, Mohr wrote the mammal's section of the 2 Volumes Enciclopedia degli Animali (Capitol editions, Bologna, 1980) [11] .


  1. Mohr's membership was temporarily dropped in the late 1940s due to her inability to send membership dues during and following World War II. [4]

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  9. Vitzthum, H. Graf (1931). "Neue parasitische Fledermausmilben aus Venezuela". Zeitschrift für Parasitenkunde. 4 (1): 1–47. doi:10.1007/BF02122048.
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  11. Italian Books and Periodicals , Vol. 23, dency of the Council of Ministers, Information and Copyright Services, 1980, 1980, a book coauthored with Dr. Joachim Steinbacher (ornithology section), Konrad Klemmer (reptiles), Dr. W. Ladiges (fishes), Dr. Wolfgang Dierl (inseets), Dr. Max Seilnik (spiders), and the Italian supervision of Dr. Paolo Boldreghini and Mario Spagnesi