S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Smith, Mr Edgar Albert (marine invertebrates)

Born: 1847, Place not known.
Died: 22 July 1916, Place not known.
Mr Edgar Albert Smith

Edgar A. Smith, a British conchologist, was an assistant keeper in the Zoology Department of the British Museum (Natural History) in London from 1867 to his retirement in 1913. He was a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London and was awarded the Imperial Service Order in 1903. From 1871 onwards he published widely on marine invertebrates, particularly molluscs. By 1900 he had already produced some 240 papers. Among others he described shells collected during the voyage of the Alert (1884); the bivalves (1885) and Heteropoda (1888) collected during the voyage of HMS Challenger; shells from Barbados (1891); land shells from Borneo (1893); shells from Zomba, Malawi (1898); land and freshwater molluscs of the Maldive and Laccadive Archipelagoes (1902); and the brachiopods and molluscs collected by the British National Antarctic Expedition (1907). In 1901 he compiled A guide to the shell and starfish galleries (Mollusca, Polyzoa, Brachiopoda, Tunicata, Echinoderma, and worms) for the museum. He was the editor of the Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London.

Several of Smith's papers dealt with South African molluscs, and some of these were published in South Africa. For example, "A list of the species of Achatina from South Africa, with the description of a new species" (Annals and Magazine of Natural History, 1890); "Description of a new kind of slug from South Africa" (Ibid, 1892); "Descriptions of new species of South African marine shells" (Journal of Conchology, 1898-1900); "List of species of Mollusca from South Africa" (Proceedings of the Malacological Society, 1903); "On a collection of marine shells from Port Alfred, Cape Colony" (Journal of Malacology, 1904); and two comprehensive papers entitled "On South African marine mollusca, with descriptions of new species" (Annals of the Natal Museum, 1906, Vol. 1(1), pp. 19-72 and 1910, Vol. 2(2), pp. 175-220). Several southern African marine molluscs (e.g., Amphipheras smithi, Scila smithi and a terrestrial species (Achatina smithi) were named after him.

List of sources:
Annals of the Natal Museum, 1906-1910, Vols 1 & 2.

Barnard, K.H. Personal names in South African conchology. Cape Town: Conchological Society of Southern Africa, 1965.

National Union Catalogue, pre-1956 imprints. London: Mansell, 1968-1980.

Royal Society of London. Catalogue of scientific papers [1800-1900]. London: Royal Society, 1867-1925.

Who was who, Vol. 2, 4th ed. London: Adam & Black, 1967.

Compiled by: C. Plug