Vivian Frederick Maynard FitzSimons

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Vivian Frederick Maynard FitzSimons
Born(1901-02-07)February 7, 1901
DiedAugust 1, 1975(1975-08-01) (aged 74)
Alma materRhodes University
Scientific career
FieldsHerpetology, Plant collector
InstitutionsTransvaal Museum, Namib Desert Research Station

Vivian Frederick Maynard FitzSimons, born in Pietermaritzburg, was a notable herpetologist in South Africa. Also, he contributed to the collection of spermatophyte samples for the National Herbarium which has become part of the South African National Biodiversity Institute at the Pretoria National Botanical Garden.[2] In 1937, together with Anna Amelia Obermeyer, he collected some of the earliest plant specimens from the Eastern Highlands of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).

Later, as director of the Transvaal Museum, he together with Charles Koch[3] helped to establish the Namib Desert Research Institute in Gobabeb[2]


Vivian FitzSimons came from a family of naturalists. His father, Frederick William FitzSimons, and his mother Patricia Henrietta (née Russell), both immigrated to South Africa from Ireland.[4]

His brother was Desmond Charles Fitzsimons, who in 1939 founded the Fitzsimons Snake Park (Durban) and was a leading distributor of snake antivenoms in South Africa.

Vivian FitzSimons attended the prestigious Grey High School in Port Elizabeth.

List of written works[edit]

Some of his writings include:

  • 1932. Preliminary descriptions of new forms of South African Reptilia and Amphibia, from the Vernay-Lang Kalahari Expedition, 1930.
  • 1933. Description of five new lizards from the Transvaal and Southern Rhodesia.
  • 1938. Transvaal Museum Expedition to South-West Africa and Little Namaqualand, May to August 1937.
  • 1939. Descriptions of some new species and subspecies of lizards from South Africa.
  • 1941. Descriptions of some new lizards from South Africa and a frog from southern Rhodesia.
  • 1943. The lizards of South Africa. (Reprinted 1970).
  • 1948. Descriptions of two new frogs from Natal and a gecko from Astove Island.
  • 1958. with Charles Kimberlin Brain (1931–). A Short account of the Reptiles of the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park.
  • 1959. Some new reptiles from southern Africa and southern Angola.
  • 1962. Snakes of Southern Africa.
  • 1970. A Field Guide to the Snakes of South Africa.

Notable posts[edit]

  • Director of the Transvaal Museum 1946 - 1966
  • President of the South African Museums Association in 1955[2]

Species described[edit]

As a leading herpetologist at the Transvaal Museum, Vivian was involved in the original description of as many as 41 South African reptiles, including the following species.[5]


Vivian FitzSimons is commemorated in the scientific names of four reptiles.[7]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c "FitzSimons, Vivian Frederick Maynard (1901-1975)". Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  3. ^ "Vivian Fitzsimons". South African History Online (SAHO). Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  4. ^ "South African History Online: Vivian Fitzsimons". Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  5. ^ "The Reptile Database". Retrieved 17 October 2014.
  6. ^ FitzSimons VF (1930). "Descriptions of new South African Reptilia and Batrachia, with distribution records of allied species in the Transvaal Museum collection". Annals of the Transvaal Museum. 14: 20–48.
  7. ^ 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. ("FitzSimons, V.", p. 91).

External Articles[edit]