Joseph Bruno Slowinski

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Joseph Bruno Slowinski (November 15, 1962 – September 12, 2001) was an American herpetologist who worked extensively with elapid snakes.

Research and career[edit]

Slowinski was born on November 15, 1962 in New York City, New York. He attained his bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Kansas in 1984 and went on to receive his Ph.D. at the University of Miami in 1991, studying under herpetologist Jay M. Savage. He performed postdoctoral work at the National Museum of Natural History and Louisiana State University, eventually taking a position as a professor of biology at Southeastern Louisiana University.

Slowinski was a founder of the first online herpetological journal, Contemporary Herpetology, and served as its editor-in-chief. He was also the curator for the Department of Herpetology for the California Academy of Sciences. His primary area of research was venomous snakes, having written some 40 peer-reviewed articles and one book.

Death and legacy[edit]

On September 11, 2001, while doing research deep in an isolated region of Myanmar, Slowinski was bitten by a juvenile multi-banded krait (Bungarus multicinctus). He died 29 hours later after his team made several failed attempts to obtain medical attention. The weather that night was particularly bad, preventing a helicopter from transporting Slowinski to a hospital, and making it impossible to carry medical supplies to the campsite.

A biography of Slowinski titled The Snake Charmer was written in 2008 by Jamie James.

Three species have been named for Slowinski: a species of North American corn snake (Pantherophis slowinskii ),[1] a species of bent-toed gecko native to Myanmar (Cyrtodactylus slowinskii ), and a species of krait native to Vietnam (Bungarus slowinskii ).[2]



  1. ^ Burbrink, Frank T. (2002). "Phylogeographic analysis of the cornsnake (Elaphe guttata) complex as inferred from maximum likelihood and Bayesian analyses". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 25 (3): 465–476. doi:10.1016/S1055-7903(02)00306-8.
  2. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (26 July 2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 246. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5.

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