William Roy Branch: Bibliography, taxonomic discoveries and patronyms


William Roy Branch (1946–2018) was the most prolific Africa-based herpetologist of his era. His 659 herpetological contributions, spanning 47 years, include field and photographic guides, taxonomic revisions, phylogenies, ecological studies, annotated checklists, conservation assessments, type catalogues, notes on natural history, geographical distribution and snakebite, book reviews, editorials, obituaries, tributes and prefaces. Bill authored eight book titles, including his monumental Field Guide to Snakes and other Reptiles of Southern Africa (1988, revised in 1998), The Dangerous Snakes of Africa with Steve Spawls (1995, revised in 2020) and Tortoises, Terrapins and Turtles of Africa (2008). He edited the Red Data Book – Reptiles and Amphibians (1988) and was a co-editor of its successor, the Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland (2014). In addition to a corpus of faunal and systematic works, the topics of his publications also include reptile husbandry, karyology, snake hemipenes, snake venom, reptile diets and reproduction. Appendices presented here include a detailed bibliography of his herpetological publications; a chronological list of all the reptile and amphibian taxa he described; and details of patronyms named in his honour. Bill described 68 new taxa comprising 51 species (37 lizards [18 geckos], 7 chelonians, 4 snakes, 3 frogs), 15 genera (14 lizards, 1 snake), one subfamily (Platysaurinae) and one family (Xenodactylidae). Additional species bearing his name are expected to be published within the next few years. He was the most productive South Africa-based author of reptile names (65) in the modern era. As of 2020, he had been honoured by seven patronyms (one lizard, three snakes and one frog species, and a lizard and snake genus).

Get new issue alerts for African Journal of Herpetology