William Thomas Blanford CIE FRS (7 October 1832 – 23 June 1905) was an English geologist and naturalist. He is best remembered as the editor of a major series on The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma.
William Thomas Blanford
|Born||7 October 1832|
|Died||23 June 1905 (aged 72)|
|Awards||Wollaston Medal (1883)|
Royal Medal (1901)
Blanford was born in London to William Blanford and Elizabeth Simpson. His father owned a factory next to their house on Bouverie street, Whitefriars. He was educated in private schools in Brighton (until 1846) and Paris (1848). He joined his family business in carving and gilding and studied at the School of Design in Somerset House. Suffering from ill health, he spent two years in a business house at Civitavecchia owned by a friend of his father. His initial aim was to enter a mercantile career. On returning to England in 1851 he was induced to enter the newly established Royal School of Mines (now part of Imperial College London), which his younger brother Henry F. Blanford (1834 – 1893), afterwards head of the Indian Meteorological Department, had already joined. He studied under Henry De la Beche, Lyon Playfair, Edward Forbes, Ramsay, and Warington Smyth. He then spent a year in the mining school (Bergakademie) at Freiberg, Saxony, and towards the close of 1854 both he and his brother obtained posts on the Geological Survey of India. In that service he remained for twenty-seven years, retiring in 1882. After his retirement he took up editorship of The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma series.
He was engaged in various parts of India, in the Raniganj coalfield, in Bombay, and in the coalfield near Talcher, where boulders considered to have been ice-borne were found in the Talcher strata (Talchir tillite) — a remarkable discovery confirmed by subsequent observations of other geologists in equivalent strata (Permian) elsewhere across Gondwanaland. Blanford took an interest in the Permo-Triassic Glossopteris flora. He commented on the geological age of this region in his much later address to the British Association in 1884. Between 1857 and 1860 he was involved in a survey of the Rajniganj coalfields, followed by visits to Trichinopoly and the Nilgiri Hills. In 1860 he went to Burma to study an extinct volcano, Puppadoung and in 1862 he took an interest in the Deccan Traps. In 1867 he joined an expedition to Abyssinia, the results of which were published in Observation on the Geology and Zoology of Abyssinia (1870). accompanying the army to Magdala and back; and in 1871 – 1872 he was appointed a member of the Persian Boundary Commission along with O. B. St. John. After a voyage to Basra he started back from Gwadar, 200 miles west of Karachi. He marched to Shiraz with St. John's party and then travelled alone through Ispahan to Teheran to join Sir Richard Pollock. He visited the Elbruz Mountains and returned to England from the Caspian via Astrakhan, Moscow, St. Petersburg and Berlin to reach home in September 1872. The best use was made of the exceptional opportunities of studying the natural history of those countries. He subsequently spent time to produce the report on Zoology. He represented the Indian Government at the meeting of the Geological Congress in Bologna. His attention was given not only to geology but to zoology, and especially to the land gastropods and to the vertebrates. He joined H J Elwes on a journey to Sikkim in 1870 during which several new bird species were described. Between 1870 and 1881 Blanford described 36 new species of reptiles and three new species of amphibians.
For his many contributions to geological science, Blanford was in 1883 awarded the Wollaston medal by the Geological Society of London. For his labours on the zoology and geology of British India he received in 1901 a royal medal from the Royal Society. He had been elected F.R.S. in 1874, and was chosen president of the Geological Society in 1888. He was created C.I.E. in 1904. He died at his home 72 Bedford Gardens, Campden Hill, in London on 23 June 1905.
His principal publications were: Observations on the Geology and Zoology of Abyssinia (1870), Manual of the Geology of India, with H. B. Medlicott (1879) and the third volume in Birds following the work of E. W. Oates in The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma series.
Taxa named in honour of William Thomas Blanford include:
Acanthodactylus micropholis, known commonly as the Persian fringe-toed lizard and the yellowtail fringe-fingered lizard, is a species of lizard in the family Lacertidae. The species is endemic to Asia.Agamura
Agamura is a genus of geckos containing two species :
Agamura kermanensis Hosseinian-Yousefkhani, Aliabadian, Rastegar-Pouyani, Darvish, Shafiei, & Sehhatisabet, 2018
Agamura persica (Duméril, 1856) – Persian spider geckoGeckos of the genus Rhinogecko are sometimes classified in genus Agamura.Alticola
Alticola is a genus of rodent in the family Cricetidae.
It contains the following species:
White-tailed mountain vole (Alticola albicauda)
Silver mountain vole (Alticola argentatus)
Gobi Altai mountain vole (Alticola barakshin)
Central Kashmir vole (Alticola montosa)
Royle's mountain vole (Alticola roylei)
Mongolian silver vole (Alticola semicanus)
Stoliczka's mountain vole (Alticola stoliczkanus)
Tuva silver vole (Alticola tuvinicus)
Lemming vole (Alticola lemminus)
Large-eared vole (Alticola macrotis)
Lake Baikal mountain vole (Alticola olchonensis)
Flat-headed vole (Alticola strelzowi)Blanford's snowfinch
Blanford's snowfinch (Pyrgilauda blanfordi), or plain-backed snowfinch, is a species of bird in the sparrow family.
It is found in China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. Its natural habitat is temperate grassland.
Its common name commemorates the English zoologist William Thomas Blanford.Bunopus
Bunopus is a genus of small geckos, lizards in the family Gekkonidae. The genus is endemic to the Middle East.Chinese flying frog
The Chinese flying frog or Chinese gliding frog (Rhacophorus dennysi) is a species of tree frog in the family Rhacophoridae found in China, Laos, Burma, and Vietnam. It is also known as the Blanford's whipping frog, large treefrog, and Denny's whipping frog.
It is up to 10 cm (3.9 in) long. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest, subtropical or tropical moist montane forest, rivers, swamps, freshwater marshes, intermittent freshwater marshes, ponds, irrigated land, and canals, and ditches.
Females lay eggs in foam nests attached to branches and grasses hanging over water. They create nests by beating a frothy secretion into foam with their hind legs.
It is considered Least Concern by the IUCN.Duttaphrynus olivaceus
Duttaphrynus olivaceus is a species of toad in the family Bufonidae. It is found in southeastern Iran and western Pakistan. Its presence in Afghanistan and India is doubtful. Common names olive toad, Baluchistan coastal toad, Baluchestan coastal toad, and Makran toad have been coined for it.Duttaphrynus olivaceus occurs in areas where water is available, such as irrigated land, springs, oases, and other types of wetlands at elevations below 700 m (2,300 ft). Breeding takes place in ponds and oases. The surrounding habitat is mostly semi-desert with date palms.Duttaphrynus olivaceus is an adaptable species that often depends on human-made habitats. It can be locally common. Pollution, habitat alteration, and droughts are localized threats.Eremias fasciata
Eremias fasciata (commonly known as the Sistan racerunner) is a species of lizard found in Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.Eremias persica
Eremias persica, the Aralo-Caspian racerunner or Persian racerunner, is a species of lizard native to southern Azerbaijan, most of Iran, southern Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and western Pakistan. Eremias intermedia is also known as the Aralo-Caspian racerunner.Eremias vermiculata
Eremias vermiculata (commonly known as the Central Asian racerunner or variegated racerunner ) is a species of lizard found in Mongolia, China, and Kazakhstan. Eremias velox is also sometimes known as the Central Asian racerunner.Eremias yarkandensis
Eremias yarkandensis (commonly known as the Yarkend racerunner or Yarkand sandlizard) is a species of lizard found in China and Kyrgyzstan.Graceful leaf-toed gecko
The graceful lead-toed gecko (Hemidactylus gracilis) is a species of small-sized gecko found in India. The holotype was described in British India in Berar (what is now Amravati).Mesalina balfouri
Mesalina balfouri is a species of sand-dwelling lizard in the family Lacertidae. It is endemic to Socotra.Mesalina brevirostris
Mesalina brevirostris, also known as Blanford's short-nosed desert lizard, is a species of sand-dwelling lizard in the family Lacertidae. It occurs in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran, and United Arab Emirates.Ophisops microlepis
Ophisops microlepis, the small-scaled lacerta, is a species of lizards found in parts of India.Paralaudakia stoliczkana
Paralaudakia stoliczkana (common name Mongolia rock agama) is a species of lizard native to Xinjiang and Gansu provinces in China, the western parts of Mongolia, and to Kyrgyzstan.Pseuderemias mucronata
Pseuderemias mucronata, the Sinai racerunner or Blanford’s sand racer, is a species of lizard found in Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, and Somalia.Telescopus rhinopoma
Telescopus rhinopoma is a species of rear-fanged mildly venomous snake in the family Colubridae. The species is found in the Middle East (Iran), South Asia (Afghanistan, Pakistan), and Central Asia (Turkmenistan).Timon princeps
Timon princeps, commonly called the Siirt lizard or the Zagrosian lizard, is a species of lizard in the family Lacertidae (wall lizards). The species is endemic to Western Asia.