S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Jones, Mr W E (invertebrate zoology, archaeology)

Born: Date not known, Place not known.
Died: Date not known, Place not known.

W.E. ("Mamba") Jones, businessman and naturalist, was of Australian origin. He came to the Colony of Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) after hearing reports of gold strikes there, and settled at Mfongosi, some 30 km north of Kranskop. Gold had been found along the Mfongosi River, a tributary of the Thukela River, in 1886, but soon only a ghost town remained. Jones reportedly ran a guesthouse there until his death in the mid-1950s. He was a keen naturalist, best known as a commercial snake collector. With the encouragement of H.C. Burnup*, Jones collected snails around Mfongosi, including many new and interesting specimens, and sent them to Burnup in a steady stream. However, only a single subspecies, Gulella crassidens jonesi, was named after him (by D. van Bruggen) after his death.

In 1903 Jones presented Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) from Zululand to the South African Museum in Cape Town, and during the period 1911-1935 supplied the museum with various types of insects from Mfongosi. In 1909, following a suggestion by the government entomologist of Natal, Claude Fuller*, he made detailed observations at Mfongosi of the life cycle and predators of the "Wattle Processionary Caterpillar". The results were published in an article by Jones in the Natal Agricultural Journal (1909, Vol. 13(6), pp. 745-750).

Around the middle of 1929 Jones discovered a Stone Age site near his home at Mfongosi. He collected about 150 artefacts. Some of the flakes showed peculiar secondary trimming in the form of many small cuts, making a saw-like edge. A.J.H. Goodwin and Jones described this find in "A new stone-implement technique from Zululand" (Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa, 1931, Vol. 19, pp. 1-6).

List of sources:
Cape of Good Hope. Report of the Trustees of the South African Museum, 1903.

Goodwin, A.J.H. & Jones, W.E. A new stone implement technique from Zululand. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa, 1931, Vol. 19, pp. 1-6.

Herbert, D. & Kilburn, D. Field guide to the land snails and slugs of eastern South Africa. Pietermaritzburg: Natal Museum, 2004.

Pietermaritzburg Archives Repository (NAB), Vol. NCP 8/1/17/1/4: Natal Department of Agriculture. Seventh Report of the Government Entomologist, 1909-1910.

Robertson, Hamish. Biodiversity explorers. Retrieved from http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/people on 2010-9-21.

Compiled by: C. Plug