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VMs: "The Devils Chicken" and other [hi]stories... :-)

Hi everyone,

BTW: Dr Arthur Wallis Exell OBE, born 1901, died sometime between 1991 and now. He was a botanist, who worked for the British Museum (Natural History) for many years. AFAICT, his final book was "History of the Ladybird".

Quoting from Gordon's Ladybird Beetle page (now defunct, but still in Google's cache):-

        The name Ladybird arises from the vernacular name for the
        common 7-Spot Ladybird (Coccinella 7-punctata) in Europe.
        Our Lady's Bird, the Lady in this case being 'The Virgin Mary'
        from Christian Mythology. The red base colour of the elytra
        is said to represent her cloak and the 7 black spots to
        represent the 'Virgins' 7 joys and 7 sorrows.

        Relating Ladybirds to the Virgin Mary is not unusual, in 1991
        Dr. A.W. Exell published his book "History of the Ladybird"
        in which he cites 329 common names for the Ladybird from
        55 countries, of which over 80 refer to the Virgin Mary and
        more than 50 are dedicated to God. Contrarily one Italian
        name is 'Galineta del Diaolo' or 'The Devils Chicken'. Other
        names include the Swedish Himelska nyckla or 'The Keys
        of Heaven' and the Cherokee 'Great Beloved Woman'

He often made field-trips to Africa, once reporting on whether or not khat was a narcotic:-


His estate may still have his notes on the VMS - though there's nothing obvious on the web (that I can see) about where/when he died, his publishers (or friends at the BM) may know.

Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....