Worth Hamilton Weller

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Worth Hamilton Weller in 1930.

Worth Hamilton Weller (May 28, 1913 – June 22, 1931) was an American herpetologist who died in a fall from a cliff at Grandfather Mountain near Linville North Carolina.

Weller was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. His interest in herpetology and in particular salamanders developed when he was a young boy exploring nearby fields and woods with his friend Karl Maslowski who went on to become a well known wildlife photographer.[1] Soon he was recording observations for the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History. Shortly after the director of the museum Ralph E Dury (1899-?) established the Cincinnati Junior Society of Natural Sciences in 1928 he joined it and at 16 became its business manager and Curator of Herpetology.[2] He carried out an extensive correspondence with the herpetologist Emmett Reid Dunn which led to his acceptance at Haverford College. Between 1930 and 1932 he published 12 papers, most of which were reprinted in 1965 (Adler:182).

In April 1930 he visited Cascade Caverns in Kentucky with Dury where he collected the type specimen of a salamander he described and named after Dury, Gyrinophilus porphyriticus duryi (Weller, 1930).[3] During the summer vacation between his sophomore and junior years at Walnut Hills High School he visited Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina with Dury, where he discovered the first specimens of Weller's Salamander (Plethodon welleri). The same year he described a new salamander from Kentucky, Gyrinophilus porphyriticus duryi (Weller, 1930), which he named after Dury. Only a week after graduating with high honors from high school Dury took members of the Junior Society to Grandfather mountain to find more specimens for Weller. The afternoon they arrived Weller left the others to go collecting despite the bad weather and never returned. Four days later his body was found wedged between boulders in a creek below the mountain. With him was a collecting bag which contained specimens of his new species (Adler:182).


  1. ^ http://www.cnah.org/news.asp?id=280 In Memoriam: Karl Maslowski The Center for North American Herpetology
  2. ^ "Proceedings of the Cincinnati Society of Natural Sciences, v.2-3 1931-1932, [1]
  3. ^ Burt, Charles E., "A Contribution to the Herpetology of Kentucky", American Midland Naturalist, Vol. 14, No. 6, (Nov., 1933), pp. 669-679



  • Walker, Charles F. and Weller, W. Hamilton, "The Identity and Status of Pseudotriton duryi" Copeia, Vol. 1932, No. 2, (Jul. 1, 1932), pp. 81–83 Published by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
  • Weller, W. H. 1930 "Notes on amphibians collected in Carter Co., Kentucky." Proc. Junior Soc. of Nat. Sci., Cincinnati, 1, Nos. 5 and 6: 6-9 (counted).
  • Weller, W. H. 1930 "On a recent occurrence of the blue-tailed skink in Hamilton County (Ohio)", Proc. Jun. Soc. Nat. Hist., vol. 1, nos. 5 and 6.
  • Weller, W. H. 1930 "Notes on Aneides aeneus (Cope and Packard)." Proc. Jun. Soc. Nat. Sci. (Cincinnati) 1:2.
  • Weller, W. H. 1930 "A preliminary list of the salamanders of the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee." ibid