Hobart Muir Smith

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For the American musician, see Hobart Smith.

Hobart Muir Smith, born Frederick William Stouffer (September 26, 1912 – March 4, 2013[1]), was an American herpetologist. He is credited with describing more than 100 new species of American reptiles[2] and amphibians. In addition, he has been honored by having at least five species named after him, including the southwestern blackhead snake (Tantilla hobartsmithi ) and Smith's arboreal alligator lizard (Abronia smithi ). At 100 years of age, Smith continued to be an active and productive herpetologist.[3] Having published more than 1,600 manuscripts, he surpassed all contemporaries and remains the most published herpetologist of all time.[4][5]

Early life and Education[edit]

Smith was born in Stanwood, Iowa on September 26, 1912. Smith attained his bachelor of science in 1932 from Kansas State University, under Howard K. Gloyd, and attained his masters (in 1933) and doctorate (in 1936) at the University of Kansas under Dr. Edward Harrison Taylor, where his thesis was a revision of the lizard genus Sceloporus. He also participated in several specimen collecting trips to Mexico.


In 1936 Smith was awarded a National Research Council Fellowship at the University of Michigan, where he worked with several other researchers to write and publish The Mexican and Central American Lizards of the Genus Sceloporus. In 1937 he worked for both the Chicago Academy of Sciences and the Field Museum of Natural History. He was given a fellowship by the Smithsonian Institution to collect specimens in Mexico, and collected over 20,000. From 1941 until 1945 he was a zoology professor at the University of Rochester, in New York. In 1945 he returned to the University of Kansas as an associate professor and wrote the Handbook of Lizards, Lizards of the US and of Canada. In 1946 he moved to Texas and became an associate professor of wildlife management at Texas A&M University and wrote Checklist and key to snakes of Mexico and Checklist and key to amphibians of Mexico with Taylor. From 1947 until 1968 he was a professor of zoology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He retired in 1968 and moved to Boulder, Colorado, where he became a professor of biology at the University of Colorado. In 1972 he became chairman of, what is now, the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. In 1983 he retired, becoming a professor emeritus and continued his personal research with over 1,600 publications, including 29 books.

Personal life[edit]

Born Frederick William Stouffer in 1912, he was adopted in 1916 by Charles and Frances Smith, farmers. In 1938 he married Rozella Pearl Beverly Blood (who became Rozella Pearl Beverly Blood Smith, 1911–1987), who helped him publish his extensive collection of herpetological notes. In 1942 he named a species of lizard in honor of her, Diploglossus rozellae.[6]

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Checklist and key to snakes of Mexico (1945)
  • Handbook of Lizards, Lizards of the US and of Canada (1946)
  • Checklist and key to amphibians of Mexico (1948)
  • Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of Kansas (1950)
  • Checklist and Key to Reptiles of Mexico Exclusive of Snakes (1950)
  • Reptiles and Amphibians: A Guide to Familiar American Species with Herbert S. Zim (1953, 1956)
  • Reptiles and Amphibians - A Guide to Familiar American Species (1958)
  • Poisonous Amphibians and Reptiles (1959)
  • Evolution of Chordate Structure (1961)
  • Snakes as Pets (1965)
  • Analysis of the Literature on the Mexican Axolotl (1971)
  • Analysis of the Literature Exclusive of the Mexican Axolotl (1973)
  • Source Analysis and Index for Mexican Reptiles (1976)
  • Source Analysis and Index for Mexican Amphibians (1976)
  • Guide to Mexican Amphisbaenians and Crocodilians (1977)
  • Guide to Mexican Turtles (1980)
  • Reptiles of North America - A Guide to Field Identification with Edmund D. Brodie, Jr. (1982)


  1. ^ "Hobart Muir Smith". The Guardian. 10 Mar 2013. 
  2. ^ Uetz, P (2010). "The original descriptions of reptiles" (PDF). Zootaxa. 2334: 59–68. 
  3. ^ Smith, Hobart M. (2012). "Some notes on the last hundred years and the next stages in the evolution of herpetology" (PDF). Herpetological Conservation and Biology. 7 (2): xi–xiv. 
  4. ^ Bury, R. Bruce, and Trauth, Stanley E. (2012). "Pioneer of herpetology at his century mark: Hobart M. Smith" (PDF). Herpetological Conservation and Biology. 7 (2): vii–viii. 
  5. ^ Chiszar, David (2012). "Hobart M. Smith turns 100" (PDF). Herpetological Conservation and Biology. 7 (2): ix–x. 
  6. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Rozella", p. 228).

External links[edit]