He was a Dutch biologist and microscopist. His work on insects demonstrated that the various phases during the life of an insect—egg, larva, pupa, and adult—are different forms of the same animal. As part of his anatomical research, he carried out experiments on muscle contraction. In 1658, he was the first to observe and describe red blood cells. He was one of the first people to use the microscope in dissections, and his techniques remained useful for hundreds of years.
His father cut off his financial support for Swammerdam’s entomological studies. As a result, Swammerdam was forced, at least occasionally, to practice medicine in order to finance his own research.
Despite five intense years of beekeeping, the mode of honey bee reproduction escaped him as he wrote, “I do not believe the male bees actually copulate with the females.”
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