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A tribute to William Roy Branch (1946–2018): Doyen of African Herpetology


Abstract

London-born William Roy Branch spent nearly 50 years working as a herpetologist while associated with Port Elizabeth Museum. Bill, as he was known, passed away at home in Port Elizabeth on 14 October 2018, at the age of 72, after battling motor neurone disease. This tribute summarises various aspects of his life, his achievements, and their significance to African herpetology, with special reference to his impact on the Herpetological Association of Africa. It documents his involvement in field work in southern Africa and elsewhere on the continent, which contributed to making the herpetological collection at Port Elizabeth Museum among the largest such collections in Africa. Bill was the most prolific Africa-based herpetologist of his era, having produced an astonishing 659 herpetological publications. He was author of 68 taxon names and had six taxa named in his honour. We also offer personal recollections of our associations with a man we were honoured to know and collaborate with.

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