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James R. Dixon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dr. James Dixon with a rattlesnake in April, 2005.
Dr. James Dixon with a rattlesnake in April, 2005.

James Ray Dixon (born August 1, 1928, in Houston, Texas – died January 10, 2015, in Bryan, Texas) was Professor Emeritus and Curator Emeritus of Amphibians and Reptiles at the Texas Cooperative Wildlife Collection at Texas A&M University.[1][2] He lived in El Campo, Texas throughout most of his childhood. He published prolifically on the subject of herpetology in his distinguished career, authoring and co-authoring several books, book chapters, and numerous peer reviewed notes and articles, describing two new genera, and many new species, earning him a reputation as one of the most prominent herpetologists of his generation. His main research focus was morphology based systematics of amphibians and reptiles worldwide with emphasis on Texas, USA, Mexico, Central America, and South America, although bibliographies, conservation, ecology, life history and zoogeography have all been the subjects of his extensive publications.


A genus of lizards, Dixonius Bauer, Good & Branch, 1997, leaf-toed geckos from Southeast Asia, was named in his honor as well as several species of reptiles and amphibians, e.g., the white-lipped peeping frog, Eleutherodactylus dixoni J.D. Lynch, 1991 (= Eleutherodactylus albolabris Taylor, 1943); the gray checkered whiptail, Cnemidophorus dixoni Scudday, 1973 (= Aspidoscelis tesselatus (Say, 1823)); Dixon's leaf-toed gecko, Phyllodactylus dixoni Rivero-Blanco & Lancini, 1968; and the large-eyed snake, Thamnodynastes dixoni Bailey & R.A. Thomas, 2007.[3]

Education and Early Career

Dixon attained his bachelor of science from Howard Payne University (1950), and then served in the Korean War (1951-1953). Upon returning from the war, he briefly acted as Curator of Reptiles at the Ross Allen Reptile Institute from 1954 to 1955. He earned his master's degree (1957) and PhD in (1961) from Texas A&M University. He was an Associate Professor of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M from 1959 until 1961.


From 1961 until 1965 he was an Associate Professor of Wildlife Management at New Mexico State University and served as a consultant to the New Mexico state Game and Fisheries department. He was on the faculty of the University of Southern California and from 1965 until 1967 he was Curator of Herpetology at the Life Sciences Division at the Los Angeles County Museum in California. In 1967 he returned to Texas to become a professor at Texas A&M University, teaching Wildlife and Fisheries Science, and Curator of the Texas Cooperative Wildlife Collection or TCWC (recently renamed Biodiversity Research and Teaching Collections or BRTC). Over 20 herpetologists earned Ph.D.s studying under him at Texas A&M University. He has also served as President of several herpetological and naturalist societies including The Herpetologist League, Texas Herpetological Society, Texas Academy of Science; Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Southwestern Association of Naturalists, and on the Board of Directors of the Texas Systems of Natural Laboratories. He has also served on the faculty of Stephen F. Austin State University and Texas State University.

New genera of reptiles described by James R. Dixon

Listed in chronological order.

A partial list of new amphibian and reptile species described by James R. Dixon

Listed in chronological order.

Nota bene: A binomial authority in parentheses indicates that the species was originally described in a different genus.


  1. ^ "Dr. James Dixon". Texas A&M Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences. January 16, 2015. Archived from the original on 2 July 2015. Retrieved 2 July 2015.
  2. ^ Forstner, Michael R.J.; Lazcano, David; Thomas, Robert A. (2015). "In Memoriam: James Ray Dixon". The Southwestern Naturalist. 60 (1): 132–138. doi:10.1894/0038-4909-60.1.132.
  3. ^ 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. ("Dixon", p. 73).

External links and further reading

  • Altig R (2012). "Academic Lineages of Doctoral Degrees in Herpetology (third edition)". pp. 471-564. In: Adler K (2012). Contributions to the History of Herpetology. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. 564 pp.
  • Bailey JR, Thomas RA (2007). "A revision of the South American snake genus Thamnodynastes Wagler, 1830 (Serpentes, Colubridae, Tachymenini). II. Three new species from northern South America, with further descriptions of Thamnodynastes gambotensis Pérez-Santos and Moreno and Thamnodynastes ramonriveroi Manzanilla & Sánchez". Memoria de la Fundación La Salle de Ciencias Naturales 166: 7-27.
  • Bauer AM, Good DA, Branch WR (1997). "The taxonomy of the Southern African leaf-toed geckos (Squamata: Gekkonidae), with a review of Old World "Phyllodactylus" and the description of five new genera". Proc. California Acad. Sci. 49 (14): 447-497.
  • Biographies of People Honored in the Herpetological Nomenclature in North America
  • McAllister, Chris T.; Forstner, Michael R.J. (2015). "In Memoriam: James Ray Dixon, A Texas Herpetological Icon (1928-2015)" (PDF). Herpetological Conservation and Biology. 10 (1): 1–25.
  • Lynch JD (1991). "Three replacement names for preoccupied names in the genus Eleutherodactylus(Amphibia: Leptodactylidae)". Copeia 1991: 1138-1139.
  • Rivero-Blanco C, Lancini AR (1968) (1967). "Phyllodactylus dixoni: una nueva especie de lagarto (Sauria: Gekkoninae) de Venezuela ". Memoria de la Sociedad de Ciencias Naturales La Salle 78: 168−175. (in Spanish).
  • Scudday JF (1973). "A New Species of Lizard of the Cnemidophorus tesselatus Group from Texas". Journal of Herpetology 7 (4): 363-371.
  • Smith HM, Smith RB (1973). Synopsis of the Herpetofauna of Mexico, Vol. II: Analysis of the Literature Exclusive of the Mexican Axolotl. Augusta, West Virginia: Eric Lundberg. xxxiii + 367 pp.
  • Texas Cooperative Wildlife Collection
This page was last edited on 25 November 2018, at 15:22
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