Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Bibliotheca Herpetologica 17(5)

Dodd, C. K. Jr. 2023. Promoting Amphibians and Reptiles in French Agriculture and Horticulture—Albert Larbalétrier and La Grenouille. Bibliotheca Herpetologica 17(5):46–49. Published June 20, 2023.

Albert Larbalétrier (1863–1902?) was Professeur de l’École Pratique d’Agriculture du Pas-de-Calais, among other positions. As the name suggests, this and similar schools of practical agriculture were established to provide hands-on experience in farming regionally throughout France. In the United States today, we would call Larbalétrier an Agricultural Extension Service professor, as he published a great many books, booklets, and articles assisting farmers and gardeners in raising agricultural products (both plants and animals). His major work was published in 1888 as l’Agriculture et la Science Agronomique, but it contains nothing on amphibians and reptiles.

Nevertheless, Larbalétrier was a proponent of diversifying agricultural opportunities, and frogs were a part of his strategy. Frog legs have long been esteemed in France, yet their supply depended on gathering frogs from wild populations. Larbalétrier’s first publication on the potential for farmers to diversify their income by raising frogs was in 1899, with a second in 1901, followed by his important booklet on frogs in agriculture, La Grenouille, published in 1902. He also published several other papers on both useful and potentially harmful amphibians and reptiles to horticulture.

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