Boman Framji Chhapgar

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Boman Framji Chhapgar
Photo of Boman Framji Chhapgar
Boman Framji Chhapgar
Born 1 January 1931 (1931-01) (age 86)
Citizenship India
Fields Marine biology, carcinology

Boman Framji Chhapgar (born 1 January 1931) is an Indian marine biologist specializing in carcinology. The author of popular accounts on marine biology under the pen-name of "beefsea", several new species of crab, mantis shrimp and fishes have been described by him.

Early life and education[edit]

Boman Framji Chhapgar was born on 1 January 1931 in Bombay. After completing school at Bharda New High School in 1944, he studied microbiology and zoology at St. Xavier’s College, graduating in 1948. He also obtained a second Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree from the Royal Institute of Science, Bombay with zoology. In 1951 he joined the Taraporewala Marine Biological Station (attached to the Taraporewala Aquarium), affiliated to the University of Bombay as its first M. Sc. student. In 1954 he was awarded the Shri Vicaji D. B. Taraporevala Senior Research scholarship. He later registered for a Ph.D. in 1972 completing it in 1976.[citation needed] In 1957, he was selected for the UNESCO Marine Biology Refresher Course, which he successfully completed the following year.

He also trained as a scuba diver and took an interest in scouting and hiking.


Dr Chhapgar joined the Department of Fisheries, Bombay State in 1955 as a Junior Research Assistant. He moved on to become a Senior Research Assistant, Biologist, Superintendent of Fisheries and later an Assistant Director of Fisheries taking up postings at a various locations including Kolhapur, Satara and Sangli Districts. From 1959 to 1965 he served as Curator of the Taraporewala Aquarium.

He participated in the International Indian Ocean Expedition (1959–64)[1] aboard the USS Anton Bruun (from Madras to Vishakhapatnam) and INS Kistna (Cochin to Port Blair to Madras) and on the maiden cruise of the Indian oceanographic vessel ORV Sagar Kanya (from Marmagao to Mombasa) in 1983 to study the monsoon in the Arabian Sea.[citation needed]

In 1973 he joined the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre to study aquatic radioactivity and its impact on the marine environment. He retired in 1987.[citation needed]

Species described[edit]

Even as a research student, he described two new species of crabs and a new form of another. The crab species were described in the Records of the Indian Museum in 1956 (Pinnotheres vicajii, Pseudograpsus intermedius, Leptodius euglyptus quadrispinosus.[2] The first two species of crabs were discovered in the sea off Bombay while the third was found in the Okha region of Gujarat.

In 1966, he described two mantis shrimps from Bombay in the genus Squilla (now Clorida).[3]

After his retirement he described, along with S. R. Sane, a new species of fish Puntius setnai from Goa.[4]

Achievements and honours[edit]

Chhapgar specialized in the Decapoda particularly the marine species in the infraorder Brachyura.[5] He was elected a Life Fellow of the International Oceanographic Foundation, for his "contributions to the advancement and extension of knowledge and discovery in oceanography and the marine sciences". A portrait of him is included in the Gallery of Carcinologists in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C..[6] He is also a Founding Fellow of the Indian Fisheries Association.[citation needed]

From 1991 he guided M.Sc. and PhD students and was a visiting faculty at the University of Mumbai. He served on the Board of Governors of Maharashtra Nature Parks Association for three years[when?] and was on the executive committee of the Bombay Natural History Society from 1988 to 2004. In 1994, he was awarded the Dharmakumarsinhji Trophy for his lifetime achievement in the field of ornamental fish keeping.

A variety of Sida acuta Burm., a plant discovered at Lakshadweep by Dr. M.R. Almeida was named after him as S. acuta var chhapgarii.[7]


Dr Chhapgar published numerous papers in scientific journals. He is a contributing editor to The Aquarium and Freshwater and Marine Aquarium. He also wrote several books and articles for a popular audience, some under the pen name of beefsea. Some of his publications include:

In the aftermath of heavy rains in Mumbai in August 2005, nearly 2,000 unsold copies of his book "The Marine Life in India" at the Oxford University Press warehouse were destroyed by flooding.[8]


  1. ^ Snider, RG (1961). "The International Indian Ocean Expedition 1959-64" (PDF). Discovery: 114–117. 
  2. ^ Chhapgar,. B. F. (1955). "On two new species and a new variety of crabs (Decapoda: Brachyura) from Bombay State". Rec. Indian Mus. 53 (1&2): 251–260. 
  3. ^ Chhapgar, BF & SR Sane (1966). "Two new species of Squilla (Stomatopod) from Bombay". Crustaceana. 12 (1): 1–8. doi:10.1163/156854067X00657. 
  4. ^ Chhapgar, B.F. & S.R. Sane (1992). "A new fish of the genus Puntius Hamilton (Ostariophysi: Cyprinidae) from Goa". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 89 (3): 357–359. 
  5. ^ Blackwelder RE & RM Blackwelder (1961). Directory of Zoological Taxonomists of the World. Southern Illinois University Press, Illinois. 
  6. ^ Unknown (2003). "From Across the Ocean". Hornbill: 5–?. 
  7. ^ Almeida, M.R. (1991). "Additions to the terrestrial flora of Lakshadweep". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 90 (1): 130–132. 
  8. ^ The Times Of India Mumbai; Date:4 August 2005; Section:Pg 04 - City; Page Number 4

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