Fall Armyworm Symposium: James Edward Smith--Taxonomic Author of the Fall Armyworm

  • Alvin M. Simmons
  • B. R. Wiseman


Sir James Edward Smith (born 2 December 1759, died 17 March 1828) made many valuable contributions to the field of science, notably on taxonomy of plants and insects. Sir James is the sole taxonomic author of the fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith), and numerous other American insects. Many 20th century and earlier writers have erroneously attributed the taxonomic authorship of the fall armyworm and other insects to Smith and Abbott because they are co-authors of a 1797 publication describing those insects. However, the preface of that publication, as well as notes by Abbott, indicates that Smith was responsible for the systematic names therein. James Smith was the first president of the Linnaean Society of London. During his long active life, Smith published over 3,000 articles. The 1992 Fall Armyworm Symposium is dedicated to Sir James Edward Smith.
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