Malcolm Arthur Smith

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Malcolm Arthur Smith (1875 in New Malden, Surrey – 1958 in Ascot) was a herpetologist and physician working in the Malay Peninsula.

Early life[edit]

Smith was interested in reptiles and amphibians from an early age. After completing a degree in medicine and surgery in London in 1898, he left for the then Kingdom of Siam (today Thailand) as a doctor to the British Embassy in Bangkok. In 1921 he married Eryl Glynne of Bangor, who as well as being medically trained, made significant collections of ferns from Thailand and later worked at RBG Kew. She was killed in a car crash near Bangkok in 1930.[1] The couple had three children including the mountaineer Cymryd "Cym" Smith, also killed in a road accident.[1] Eryl was the elder sister of the mountaineer and plant pathologist Mary Dilys Glynne.


Smith went on to become the physician in the royal court of Siam and was a close confidant and a doctor to the royal family.[2] He published his observations on the reptiles and amphibians during his stint there and was in regular correspondence with Boulenger at the Natural History Museum, London. He left in 1925 to continue his studies at the museum in London.

He was the founder and president of the British Herpetological Society which operated from within the Linnean Society.


Malcolm Smith is commemorated in the scientific names of six species of reptiles: Hemidactylus malcolmsmithi, Dibamus smithi, Enhydris smithi (synonym of Enhydris jagorii), Fimbrios smithi, Trimeresurus malcolmi, and Typhlops malcolmi.[3]



  1. ^ "Smith, Eryl (c. 1893-1930) on JSTOR". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ Smith MA (1947). A Physician at the Court of Siam.
  3. ^ 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. ("Malcolm/Malcolm Smith", p. 166; "Smith, M.A.", p. 247).

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