Mendyk, R. W. 2022. Peculiar Case of Ophiomania: The Herpetological Pursuits, Contributions and Advocacy of Arthur Stradling (1851–1902). Bibliotheca Herpetologica 16(2):14–32. Published March 5, 2022.
Amateur herpetologsts have undeniably played a crucial role in shaping and advancing the study of reptiles and amphibians over the last several centuries. But with few exceptions, it was not until the 20th Century that it became possible for someone to gain professional employment strictly as a herpetologist, and prior to this, most early contributors to the field held positions and backgrounds in other scholarly disciplines, particularly medicine. Following in such a tradition, Arthur Stradling (1851–1902), an English physician who lacked formal schooling in zoology but excelled as a naturalist, made many important contributions to the study of reptiles and amphibians during the last three decades of the 19th Century. Yet, despite his many discoveries and prolific output of both scholarly and popular publications on reptiles and amphibians, he has been largely overlooked and infrequently referenced in modern works of herpetology and herpetological history. The following account expands on the information presented in a recent biographical vignette of Stradling by Jon Coote (2019), and chronicles his remarkable life and herpetological pursuits, contributions and advocacy for reptiles and amphibians, concluding with an annotated bibliography of his numerous herpetological publications.