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Mary J. Rathbun

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Title: Mary J. Rathbun  
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Subject: Calcinus verrillii, Seychellum, Metacarcinus anthonyi, Mary Jane Rathbun, Mary Jane
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Mary J. Rathbun

Mary Jane Rathbun
Mary Jane Rathbun working with crab specimens.
Mary J. Rathbun at work
Born (1860-06-11)June 11, 1860
Buffalo, New York
Died April 14, 1943(1943-04-14) (aged 82)
Washington, D.C.
Nationality American
Fields Carcinology
Institutions Smithsonian Institution
Author abbrev. (zoology) Rathbun

Mary J. Rathbun (1860–1943) was an American zoologist who specialized in crustaceans. She worked at the Smithsonian Institution, often unaided, from 1884 until her death. She described more than a thousand new species and subspecies and many higher taxa.


  • Biography 1
  • Publications 2
  • Taxa 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Mary Jane Rathbun was born on June 11, 1860, in Buffalo, New York, the youngest of five children of Charles Rathbun and Jane Furey. Her mother died when she was only one year old, and Mary was therefore "thrown on her own resources".[1] She was schooled in Buffalo, graduating in 1878, but never attended college.[1]

Although no more than 4 ft 6 in (1.37 m) tall, Mary Rathbun had strong features, and possessed a dry sense of humor.[1]

Mary first saw the

External links

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m  
  2. ^ Michael Türkay (2010). Rathbun, 1896"Callinectes sapidus".  
  3. ^ Peter Davie (2010). Rathbun, 1893"Chionoecetes bairdi".  
  4. ^ Hans G. Hansson. "Dr. Mary Jane Rathbun". Biographical Etymology of Marine Organism Names.  
  5. ^ Peter K. L. Ng & Paul F. Clark (2003). "Three new genera of Indo-West Pacific Xanthidae (Crustacea, Decapoda, Brachyura, Xanthoidea)" ( 


A number of taxa have been named in honor of Mary J. Rathbun:[4]


Mary J. Rathbun's first publication was cowritten with James Everard Benedict and concerned the genus Panopeus; it was published in 1891.[1] She retired on the last day of 1914, but did not stop working until her death.[1] Her largest work was Les crabes d'eau douce ("Freshwater crabs"), originally intended as a single publication, but eventually published in three volumes in 1904–1906.[1] She wrote or cowrote 166 papers in total, including descriptions of 1147 new species and subspecies, 63 new genera, one subfamily, 3 families and a superfamily, as well as other nomenclatural novelties.[1] The taxa first described by Rathbun include important commercial species such as the Atlantic blue crab Callinectes sapidus,[2] and the tanner crab, Chionoecetes bairdi.[3]


She died in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1943, at the age of 82, from complications associated with a broken hip.[1]


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