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Theodore Cantor

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Theodore Edward (Theodor Edvard) Cantor (1809–1860) was a Danish physician, zoologist and botanist.[1] He described several new species of reptiles and amphibians, and six species have been named in his honor.

Born to a Danish Jewish family,[2] his mother was a sister of Nathaniel Wallich. Cantor worked for the British East India Company, and made natural history collections in Penang and Malacca.[3]


Cantor was the first Western scientist to describe the Siamese fighting fish.[4][5][6][7] In the scientific field of herpetology he described many new species of reptiles and amphibians.[8] Species first described by Cantor include Bungarus bungaroides (1839),[9] Bungarus lividus (1839),[10] Channa argus (1842),[11] Elaphe rufodorsata (1842),[12] Euprepiophis mandarinus (1842),[13] Hippocampus comes (1850),[14] Lycodon effraenis (1847),[15] Misgurnus anguillicaudatus (1842),[16] Naja atra (1842),[17] Oligodon albocinctus (1839),[18] Oligodon cyclurus (1839),[19] Ophiophagus hannah (1836),[20] Oreocryptophis porphyracea (1839),[21] Pareas monticola (1839),[22] Protobothrops mucrosquamatus (1839),[23] Ptyas dhumnades (1842),[24] and Trimeresurus erythrurus (1839).[25]

The snake genus Cantoria with the type species Cantoria violacea (Cantor's water snake) is named in Cantor's honour,[26] as are Acanthodactylus cantoris (Indian fringe-fingered lizard), Elaphe cantoris (eastern trinket snake), Hydrophis cantoris (Cantor's small-headed sea snake), Pelochelys cantorii (Cantor's giant softshell turtle), and Trimeresurus cantori (Cantor's pit viper).[27]


  • Notes respecting some Indian fishes (1839)
  • — (1841). Conspectus of Collections Made by Dr. Cantor, Assistant Surgeon, During His Employment with H.M. 26th Regt. on Expedition to China, 1840.
  • — (1842). "General Features of Chusan, with Remarks on the Fauna and Flora of That Island". The Annals and Magazine of Natural History. 9: 481. doi:10.1080/03745484209445368.
  • — (1846). On a Species of Semnopithecus from the Peninsula of Malacca. R. and J.E. Taylor.
  • — (1842). Zoology of Chusan.
  • — (1846). Catalogue of Mammalia inhabiting the Malayan Peninsula and Islands, etc. (Extracted from the Journal of the Asiatic Society.). Bishop's College Press.
  • — (1981). Catalogue of Reptiles: Inhabiting the Asian Continent. Cosmo Publications. ISBN 978-81-7020-107-6.
  • — (1849). Catalogue of Malayan Fishes. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. Baptist Mission Press.

Taxon described by him[edit]


  1. ^ Bretschneider, E. (2011). History of European Botanical Discoveries in China. Bod Third Party Titles. p. 359. ISBN 978-3-86347-165-1. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  2. ^ Natural history publications arising from Theodore Cantor’s visit to Chusan, China, in 1840, Archives of Natural History 43.1 (2016): 30–40 Edinburgh University Press, I. M. TURNER, page 36
  3. ^ Beolens, B.; Watkins, M.; Grayson, M. (2009). The Eponym Dictionary of Mammals. The Eponym Dictionary of Mammals. Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 71. ISBN 978-0-8018-9533-3. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  4. ^ Balfour, E. (1885). The Cyclopædia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia: Commercial, Industrial and Scientific, Products of the Mineral, Vegetable, and Animal Kingdoms, Useful Arts and Manufactures. B. Quartitch. p. 758. Retrieved 10 June 2019. The real fighting fish appears to be a variety produced by artificial means, like the varieties of the golden carp of China, and Dr. Cantor named it Macropodus pugnax. When the fish is in estate of quiet, with the fins at rest, its dull colours ...
  5. ^ San Francisco Aquarium Society (1954). Aquarium Journal (in Latin). San Francisco Aquarium Society. p. 30. Retrieved 10 June 2019. In his book, Malayan Fishes, Cantor describes and illustrates the imported Siamese fighting fishes he had seen in ... Anyway, he named a new species, called Macropodus pugnax Cantor, based on his Penang specimens, and said the ...
  6. ^ Raffles Museum and Library; National Museum (Singapore) (1956). Bulletin of the Raffles Museum. Bulletin of the Raffles Museum. p. 183. Retrieved 10 June 2019. His descriptions constitute not only the first published records of Malayan fresh-water fishes but also include a new species, Macropodus pugnax Cantor. Cantor's collections, which consist partly of skins and partly of spirit specimens, were ...
  7. ^ Freshwater and Marine Aquarium. R/C Modeler Corporation. 2003. p. 50. Retrieved 10 June 2019. The fighting Betta appeared as early as Cantor's 1 849 Catalog of Malayan Fishes where it was recognized (with illustrations) as different but a variant from the Macropodus pugnax with which it was grouped.
  8. ^ The Reptile Database
  9. ^ Bücherl, W.; Buckley, E.E.; Deulofeu, V. (2013). Venomous Animals and Their Venoms: Venomous Vertebrates. Elsevier Science. p. 531. ISBN 978-1-4832-6363-2. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  10. ^ Harding, K.A.; Welch, K.R.G. (1980). Venomous Snakes of the World: A Checklist. Toxicon: Supplement. Pergamon Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-08-025495-1. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  11. ^ Courtenay, W.R.; Williams, J.D. (2004). Snakeheads (Pisces, Channidae): A Biological Synopsis and Risk Assessment. Circular (Geological Survey (U.S.))). U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-607-93720-6. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  12. ^ de Carle Sowerby, A. (1930). The Naturalist in Manchuria. The Naturalist in Manchuria. Tientsin Press, Limited. p. 14. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  13. ^ Russian Journal of Herpetology. Folium Publishing Company. 2003. p. 40. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  14. ^ Scales, Helen (2009). Poseidon's Steed: The Story of Seahorses, From Myth to Reality. Penguin Publishing Group. p. 136. ISBN 978-1-101-13376-7. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  15. ^ Asiatic Society of Bengal (1847). Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. Bishop's College Press. p. 1077. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  16. ^ Species, D.A.I. (2008). Handbook of Alien Species in Europe. Invading Nature – Springer Series in Invasion Ecology. Springer Netherlands. p. 255. ISBN 978-1-4020-8280-1. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  17. ^ Cantor, T. E. (1842). "General Features of Chusan, with remarks on the Flora and Fauna of that Island". Annals and Magazine of Natural History. IX: 482–492.
  18. ^ Bombay Natural History Society (2005). Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. Bombay Natural History Society. p. 21. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  19. ^ Akonda, A.W.; Khan, M.A.; Khan, S.M.M.H.; Haque, M.N.; Khan, M.M.H.; Ahmed, R.; Ameen, M.; Islam, M.A.; Joarder, N.B.; Nishat, A. (2000). Red book of threatened mammals of Bangladesh. IUCN Bangladesh. p. 29. ISBN 9789847460048. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  20. ^ Academy of Zoology (India) (1984). The Annals of Zoology. Academy of Zoology. p. 314. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  21. ^ Sivaperuman, C.; Venkataraman, K. (2018). Indian Hotspots: Vertebrate Faunal Diversity, Conservation and Management. Springer Singapore. p. 87. ISBN 978-981-10-6983-3. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  22. ^ Bombay Natural History Society (2005). Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. Bombay Natural History Society. p. 20. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  23. ^ Alves, R.R.N.; Rosa, I.L. (2012). Animals in Traditional Folk Medicine: Implications for Conservation. Life sciences. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 116. ISBN 978-3-642-29026-8. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  24. ^ David, P.; Vogel, G. (1996). The Snakes of Sumatra: An Annotated Checklist and Key with Natural History Notes. Edition Chimaira. Ed. Chimaira. p. 104. ISBN 978-3-930612-08-6. Retrieved 10 June 2019. Coluber dhumnades Cantor, 1842 by original designation. Was synonymised with Ptyas by Wall (1923b) and Taylor (1965).
  25. ^ nther, A.C.L.G.G. (1864). The Reptiles of British India. Ray Society. Ray society. p. 386. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  26. ^ Murphy, J. C. (2007). Homalopsid Snakes: Evolution in the Mud. Krieger Pub. p. 57. ISBN 978-1-57524-259-0. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  27. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 47. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  28. ^ International Plant Names Index.  Cantor.