John Edwards Holbrook

John Edwards Holbrook

John Edwards Holbrook

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John Edwards Holbrook (December 30, 1794 - September 8, 1871) American zoologist, herpetologist, physician, and naturalist, was born in Beaufort, South Carolina, the son of Silas Holbrook, a teacher, and Mary Edwards.

He provided the first comprehensive illustrated account of North American Amphibians & Reptiles in the two editions of his North American Herpetology: or a Description of the Reptiles inhabiting the United States. The first edition in four volumes (1836-1840) is very rare because Holbrook attempted to destroy all copies in a bonfire in his backyard over unfavorable criticism of the colored plates. The second edition in five volumes (1842) was better received and is still an important benchmark reference work. Among the new species which he described in these works are the Brown Water Snake (Nerodia taxispilota), the Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi) and the Ornate Chorus Frog (Pseudacris ornata).

The Eastern Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus holbrookii), the earless lizard genus Holbrookia, the Speckled Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula holbrooki) and the Spottail Pinfish (Diplodus holbrookii) were named in his honor.

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