Thursday, February 11, 2021

Bibliotheca Herpetologica 15(3)

Shea, G. M. 2021.  Dr. John Mair, Captain Collet Barker, and the discovery of the Australian Keelback, Tropidonophis mairii (Serpentes, Colubridae). Bibliotheca Herpetologica 15(3):18–28. Published February 11, 2021.

Abstract. The Australian Keelback, Tropidonophis mairii, was named for the donor of the type specimen, Dr. John Mair, a military surgeon who came to Australia with the 39th Regiment of the British army, and whose later career was largely spent in the Mediterranean and Canada. Mair’s activities in Australia, centred around Sydney (and later Hobart, on a separate posting), did not overlap with the distribution of the species. Instead, it is likely that the holotype (now lost) was collected by another member of the 39th Regiment, Captain Collet Barker, who was known to have collected snakes at Fort Wellington on the Cobourg Peninsula of the Northern Territory (within the range of T. mairii), and later at Perth and Albany in Western Australia, and Mair was simply the conduit for the specimen reaching England.

Keywords: John Mair, Collet Barker, Tropidonophis, 39th Regiment of Foot, Fort Wellington, Temperance Movement, Chatham.

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