Robert Mertens

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Robert Friedrich Wilhelm Mertens (1 December 1894 – 23 August 1975) was a German herpetologist. The Robert Mertens' day gecko is a species named after him, as is Mertens' water monitor,[1] and he also postulated Mertensian mimicry.

Mertens was born in Saint Petersburg before moving to Germany, where he earned a doctorate in zoology from the University of Leipzig in 1916. He worked at Frankfurt's Senckenberg Museum for several, before he moved on to become a lecturer at

Mertens worked at the Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt for several years, then became a lecturer at Goethe University Frankfurt in 1932. Both jobs provided him with ample time for extensive travel and the study of lizards.

He was the author of several books on zoology, including La Vie des Amphibiens et Reptiles (1959). Mertens described at least 59 reptile species and numerous amphibians.[2][incomplete short citation]In addition, at least eight reptile species have been named after Mertens,[1][3][incomplete short citation] e.g., Varanus mertensi, a monitor.

Mertens died after being bitten while feeding his pet savanna twigsnake, Thelotornis capensis.


  1. ^ a b Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiiiISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Mertens", p. 176; "Robert", p. 223; "Robert Mertens", p. 223).
  2. ^ Reptile species described by Mertens, according to the Reptile Database.
  3. ^ Reptile species named after Mertens, according to the Reptile Database.