There have been many well-known naturalists from Saaremaa through the ages. The unique nature of the islands, the natural way of life of the islanders, and the exemplary predecessors and teachers have been the reasons that inspired the learners to learn about nature and associate their profession or hobby with it. Unfortunately, many widespread expatriate non-migrant students have been attracted by the adventures of the world's seas and the shine of big cities, the juniper meadows of the home island, and rocky beaches have once again been remembered in old age.

One of the most important researchers of Saaremaa's nature was Wladislaw von Szeliga-Mierzeyewski. A man born and raised in Kuressaare felt a great interest in the nature of his home island all his life. His first and last research work included research on animals from Saaremaa. Let's take a closer look at W. v. Szeliga-Mierzeyewski's contribution to the study of Saaremaa's fauna, especially insects.

Fatal Saaremaa treatment mud 

Szeliga-Mierzeyewski (also Mierzeiewski, Mierzejewski, Mierzejowski, Merzejewsky, Mershejewsky) is an indigenous noble family from Poland whose family lines branched out late in Poland, Lithuania, Podolia, Russia, Austria and Prussia.

The main character of this article, Wladislaw Laurentius von Szeliga-Mierzeyewski, was born in Russia in the province of Vitebsk as a third child of the owner of Stsiepkovo on August 22, 1841 (dates here and below according to the new calendar).

Wladislaw Laurentius, who studied medicine and obtained a doctorate in medicine, became fatal in his youth (1866) and lost his ability to move. While in Crimea, in an unsuccessful course of treatment, he met a town doctor in Kuressaare, whose recommendation came to treat Kuressaare in the spring of 1872. And in the autumn, healed here, the deeper decision to return to Saaremaa was a deeper decision.

Already next year, in 1873, Wladislaw Laurentius von Szeliga-Mierzeyewski initiated the establishment of a second mud bath in Kuressaare, which was officially opened on the midsummer day of 1876. Another important event took place in the same year: WL von Szeliga-Mierzeyewski and Auguste Jeanne Petit de Sancerre, from France, married on 3 May. The owner of the completed room "Roomassaar" Dr. med. WL von Szeliga-Mierzeyewski was at the same time a private tutor at the St Petersburg Medical and Surgical Academy, a vapor judge and a real state councilor. While living in Saaremaa, he continued to work as a court officer and was a forensic expert in both St. Petersburg and Kuressaare. In 1894 Szeliga-Mierzeyewski bought the Kusta farm in the village of Tika in Karja parish, where he died on 26 March 1918.

Living through the life of the island of Saaremaa 

Wladislaw Eugen Johann von Szeliga-Mierzeyewski

was born in Kuressaare on August 3, 1882. Two years later, on August 21, 1884, another son named Gonzago Georg Alexander was added to the family. After studying at Kuressaare Gymnasium in 1893-1903, Wladislaw continued to study science at Warsaw and Krakow University. The interest in nature and science was probably given by the brothers to their father, who is remembered as a great nature lover.

Their family had frequent trips to nature, especially around their country house in Tikal. In his home garden, his father grew many exotic plants.

Wladislaw's studies were crowned with a PhD at the University of Krakow. A doctor of fresh natural sciences married on October 23, 1913, in a father's home in Kuressaare with Adelheid Ina Alice von Sassiga. They had four children: Ursula Jeanne Alice (Dec. 28, 1918, Kuressaare), Gisela Emilie Bertha (April 29, 1920, Schwerin), Irene Elisabeth Agnes (March 16, 1923 Vilnius), and Wolfgang Wladislaw Albert (May 16, 1926, Kuressaare) .

The confusion and the deteriorating health of parents and the subsequent deaths of the early World War force W. v. More and more Szeliga-Mierzeyewski is on the island of birth. It is known that in 1918 he worked as a senior lecturer at the Kuressaare Gymnasium and in 1919. was elected director of the museum of the Saaremaa Research Society (Verein zur Kunde Oesels).

It is interesting to note here that during this period, the first great evaluator of nature in Saaremaa was the first instruction from nature teacher at Kuressaare Gymnasium, Wladislaw von Szeliga-Mierzeyewski. Eduard von Toll, the author of a summary of the bird life in Saaremaa. E. v. The customs are warmly reminded of the joint excursions and the help of practical advice and literature.

At the end of the war and the normalization of political and economic conditions, the promoted doctor began to look for work and skills appropriate to his skills. which was found at the University of Vilnius in 1922. So, in 1922-1939, Wladislaw von Szeliga-Mierzeyewski worked at the Institute of Comparative Anatomy at the University of Vilnius, at least in recent years as a professor. But even in this period, close contacts with the nature of the home island and the relatives living here did not stop.

Brother Gonzago continued his studies in medicine at Warsaw and Moscow University and in 1915. A doctor's degree was founded by the father and led by the "Roomassaare" mud farm, reopened in 1923. In 1937, the brothers were transferred to the Adriatic matrix of Saaremaa.

The family still belonged to Tika's countryside. Wladislaw's family spent almost all summers on Saaremaa. The last child, Wolfgang, was also born in the home town of her mother and father in Kuressaare. W. Szeliga-Mierzeyewski long tours to different places in her childhood. In the summertime, especially in the field of performance-intensive fieldwork, he later noted the years 1931-39.

The world war and confusion that had begun led to another recession: the family moved from Vilnius to Poznan, where his father worked at Poznan University in 1939-45. At the end of the war, again, this time, finally. He moved to Brockum in Lower Saxony. Here, Wladislaw von Szeliga-Mierzeyewski spends the last part of his life of change and action until he dies on September 20, 1959, retiring. His wife, Adelheid, died on 14 October 1974. Unseen, the war-torn and repeatedly occupied homeland of Kuressaare and Taka remains, behind the insurmountable borders of Gonzago, a brother who has lost his wife in the prison camp, but came out from there in a marvelous way, who, five years before his death (March 22, 1966), worked as a mud therapist in Haapsalu; research, manuscripts, collections are lost in warfare moves.

Researcher of Saaremaa fauna

Young, Wladislaw, who entered the universities of the ancestors, packed ideas and self-realization. Along with more general science studies and later doctoral preparation and professional work on comparative animal anatomy and palaeontology, a highly educated naturalist did not forget his mission to the home island. During this period, from 1901 to 1915, he has probably gathered and prepared fish, reptiles and birds for the collections of the Saaremaa Museum, mainly during the summer holidays. After graduating from the University of Krakow, he had a firm plan to study Saaremaa's fauna in the future and to introduce it to the wider scientific community.

Thus, Wladislaw von Szeliga-Mierzeyewski prepared his first review of Saaremaa's animals, which saw the illumination in a solid publication published in Vienna (Mierzeyewski 1910). (As an interim remark, in this and in some following articles, he leaves his surname without giving the parent, and brings his first name, probably as the influence of Polish friends, to Ladislaus.)

In his review, the author counts 282 species of vertebrate animals in relation to Saaremaa, while being critical of the number of species found and aware of its future improvement. Nevertheless, Szeliga-Mierzeyewski is still the first naturalist to devote his work to the Saaremaa amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Later, he thoroughly completes his observations on birds, and this time only reveals a new overview of birds (Szeliga-Mierzeyewski 1923).

As a tribute to the life work of a man who loves the nature of Saaremaa, Dr. Wladislaw von Sziel-Mierzeyewski's youngest son, Dr. Irene, is brought together. Hans-Joachim Winkhardt once again summarizes his grandfather's findings on the birds of Saaremaa and publishes them as a publishing publication in 1995 in Stuttgart, Germany (Szeliga-Mierzeyewski 1995).
But somehow, back to the young nature researcher and his works. The research on the nature of the island island was not limited to larger animals.


The doctoral thesis was completed, Wladislaw once again turned to his schoolboy's favorite hobby - insect collection. A particularly active fieldwork year seems to have been in 1912. In Kuressaare and beyond, a well-known and highly respected son of a mud bath man, who was trained in high schools, has traveled to Saaremaa in all heels in this summer to go around with insect nets and probably from some very serious worker. Favorite places have been around the surroundings of Roomassaare, Northwest, Nasva, Järve, Sõrve, Kihelkonna-Rootsiküla, Rannaküla, Käesla, Haeska, Kaarma and of course Tika. Coming back to Krakow in autumn, he writes a series of studies on insects in Saaremaa. The manuscripts of the two works will be presented by Wladislaw von Szeliga-Mierzeyewski to the editions of Vienna's next edition next spring. They are accepted and reviews of the goal-oriented and wedge-shaped Saaremaa.

The article about Saltatoria s. Orthoptera does not name something extraordinary for Saaremaa or the whole Estonian fauna, because all the species listed are more or less common in neighboring areas. However, this is the first separate study devoted to Saaremaa's targeting: from the 25 species known today in Saaremaa, W. v. Szeliga-Mierzeyewski 22, of which 8 species at this time were first listed on the fauna of all the provinces of the Baltic Sea (Estonia, Livonia and Courland).

The researcher's thoroughness and a natural sense of steel is indicated by the finding of many species that are rarely found all over Estonia (eg Omocestus haemorrhoidalis, Tettigonia viridissima), as well as the explanation of the migration year of the locust migratoria due to the fishing done in the autumn of 1912 by many of Northwest and Nassau. Incidentally, the latter finding has been overlooked by later thirteen researchers in dealing with the migration hut. In addition to grasshoppers, shrubs, greyhounds and roe deer, the author, in accordance with his systematic tradition, also lists in his list the earrings (Forficula auricularid) of the Dermaptera Society, the cockroaches (Blattoptera) belonging to the cockroach (Blattoptera), the cockroaches (Blatella germanica) and mustard (Blatta orientalis).

To sum up, this study, which has been published for more than eighty years ago, can still be considered as a fully recognizable faunistic review.

In addition to the previous article, an article about Saaremaa wedge appeared. In a similarly structured study, the author also looks here with good knowledge of previous works on this subject and the depth of his research. As for the purposeful, W. v. Szeliga-Mierzeyewski reviewed Theophil von Polli, an insect collection of Saaremaa Research Society in Kuressaare.

The result is a list of 29 types of wedges for Saaremaa. By comparison, 54 types of wedges have been found all over Estonia today. Already in 1913, the investigator mentions several less frequently occurring species (Lestes dryas, Coenagrion lunulatum, Aeshna coerulea), which have been unnoticed in a later Estonian glory. Next year, he will donate his wedges to the Saaremaa Museum.

Here, these fast and beautiful flying insects could be left alone if there was not one kind of special attention in the article by Wladislaw von Szeliga-Mierzeyewski Saaremaa. A species whose publication in the early spring of 1913 brought long-lasting excitement to the thoughts and works of entomologists working on the Baltic Sea and beyond.

Saaremaa tondihobu

In June 1899, a seventeen-year-old girl interested in nature from a home garden in Kuressaare struggled with a great tond horse. Because of the abnormal color and body size, this male did not want to fit into the wedges that had been collected so far. After the hesitation, the specimen received a label called Aeschna juncea. Then the young insect collector was not aware that one year ago, one of the oldest Saaremaa nature lovers, namely Theophil von Poil (1844-1915), had struck a similar key from the Beach Village, and in his collection it also wrote books called Aeschna juncea. And he was far from dreaming that his own name - Mierzejewski - would be written as a baptist of this unknown form.

Years and schools passed. The unusually hot summer of 1912 in large-scale excursions in Saaremaa seemed to be an unexpectedly large presence of an unknown big rock on the steel nature viewer. From June to August, Wladislaw caught these horses from the Kuressaare city park, the Loode oak, the Tika forests, the Nasva and Põduste rivers. On the banks of Suurlaht, Linnulahe and Paadla bay, Kudjape sex, Haeska bays and Roomassaare and Loode beach, as well as several Kuressaare gardens.

In the autumn, looking through the harvest of the last summer, the long-awaited suspicion deepened - this tond hob differs from all that we have known. Work on literature and collections, and colleague consultations confirmed the news story. In March 1913, the scientific community can read the title of the publication "Aeschna osiliensis nov. Sp.", Written by W. Mierzejewski. The new species most closely resembles that of the South Siberian Tond Hobby Aeschna serrata Hagen, but is clearly distinct from the latter in terms of multiple characteristics (secondary sex characteristics, body dimensions and color, morphological characteristics).

But again, many years had passed since the war had been forcibly committed before the island hound as a scientific discovery became aware of its central classification systems, collections and publications in its bustling life. One of the first to notice the description of the new form was Finnish entomologist Kaarlo J. Valle. Originally, after Finland and supposedly Tomsk, and compared to the Aeschna serrata, it compares it to the local varietet of the nominally widespread native species in Mierzeyewski.

Quite soon, after the collection of local material and more attentive investigation, Valle corrects its position by describing specimens classified so far from Aeschna serrata found in Finland as a new subspecies of the island tondihobos: Aeschna osiliensis fennica n. subsp.

KJ Valle is also the finder and descriptor of the larval form of the Icelandic tondihobu (Finnish subspecies). Observations about the new tond horses were also made in Sweden.

After a lengthy start, the island horses are discovered again in their homeland. Hans Kauri complements the original description with his own observations and adds new distribution data from himself and E. Reinwald, E. Sitsi and V. Voore. And while the dispute over the taxonomical status of the island horse's teeth has continued to persist in the future, the principle that domestic researchers would like to see him as a Validian species, and more distant (more generally) see it as a local subspecies of Aeschna serrata, is not a priority at this time. Time and the history of science progress. It is important for us to make ourselves and others aware that one man who has grown up in Saaremaa has found something new in the area that was thought to be thoroughly long ago.


Despite the work of a lecturer and researcher in Vilnius, summer excursions do not cover the different places of the home island. Particularly vigorously, Wladislaw von Szeliga-Mierzeyewski collected entomological material and made ornithological observations in the thirties.

Among the two wildlife observers, the popular, relatively easy-to-collect and predetermined insect reviews, he took the beetles seriously. Here, the crown's dedication is the result to be evaluated. The twin article, the first part of which deals with the rare or first emergencies found in Saaremaa include the new Dermaptera, the Target (Orthoptera), the volcanic (Neuroptera) and the Lepidoptera (Lepidoptera), and the second part the Marshal (Coleoptera). ".

A total of 17 species are mentioned, of which 7 will prove to be real first quotations in Saaremaa and in the study of the entire Estonian fauna in the light of the knowledge at that time. One of the most remarkable things to be mentioned here is to mention the first of Kuressaare's baron Harry Maydell's garden, the first (and still one of the few remaining) European beetle, to be found in the summer of 1909.

However, the assumed first mention of several species is simply a recurrence of rare species, despite being used for a rather solid 17-unit literary list. The author was not familiar with several recent Estonian fauna studies. The main reason for this was probably the common practice among Estonian zoologists at this time to publish scientific works in very few publications in Estonian. There was no job left to come home, this time quite boggy and probably matured more from political than from natural science.

A beautiful summary of the Saaremaa insect review series The list of Saaremaa beetles published in the editions of the Riga Society of Natural History during the war was already in existence. As a material, the author has used collections collected over the years.

True, at the beginning of the article, he feels the lack of a whole piece of schoolwork that has been lost in school years, lost due to war, revolution and removals. Part of this loss was the gift of the cousin Günther von Rehekampff, which also contained the beetles of Saaremaa from 1917-1918. Already the above-mentioned collecting places include Pamma, Kudjape, Orikula, Leisi, Pidula, Kasti, Nétu, Putla, Kaali, Sikassaare, Tolli, Sääre, Jaagarahu, Orissaare.

Now that all the place names mentioned so far have been summed up, there is no larger area in Saaremaa where Wladislaw von Szeliga-Mierzeyewski would not have visited. In total, he lists 917 species of beetles found in Saaremaa, plus 119 different variations. So far, the work described is the only one that characterizes the entire Saaremaa beetle fauna.

It remains to be seen whether Szeliga-Merzeyewski had indeed received the criticism of Haberman in the intervening years - anyway, this time, we are reluctant to mention any kind of species status (rare, primitive, etc.), and already in Estonian at the beginning of the article, in parallel with the German place names.


Wladislaw von Szeliga-Mierzeyewski made an important contribution to the study of the nature of Saaremaa. His published insights on the island's insects are a considerable source of information for today's natural scientists. The life and activities of Wladislaw von Szeliga-Merzeyewski, and the research that has been left, show an exemplary opportunity to be a patriot of a small plot of land. Also when you carry a foreign name for this land.

Saaremaa Museum Two Year Book 1995 - 1996