Lazaro Spallanzani, an Italian naturalist, born at Scandiano, in the duchy of Modena, Jan. 12, 1729, died Feb. 12, 1799. He studied at Reggio and Bologna, and was chosen in 1754 to fill the chair of logic, metaphysics, and Greek in the university of Reggio. In 1761 he accepted a professorship at Modena, and began to obtain a wide reputation by his researches in natural science. In 1707 he produced a work on the phenomena of generation, showing the preexistence of germs to fecundation; in 1768 he published the result of his investigations on the production and circulation of the blood; and in 1709 translated Bonnet's Contemplations de la nature. In 1775 he contested, in opposition to Needham, the spontaneous generation of the infusoria, and maintained by a long series of ingenious experiments the production of these animalcules from atmospheric germs. In 1770 he was appointed professor of natural history in the university of Pavia. In order to add to the museum of Pavia, he travelled at different times through the principal countries of Europe, resided 11 months in Constantinople about 1785, and on his return lectured to more than 500 students.

In later publications he announced remarkable discoveries and theories concerning volcanoes, discussed curious problems in regard to swallows, and suspected the existence of a sixth sense in bats, by which they are guided with precision though deprived of sight. His works are numerous, and many of them have been translated into the principal European languages.