Charles Walter De Vis
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Charles Walter De Vis

Charles Walter De Vis

Charles Walter de Vis (Birmingham, England, 9 May 1829 – Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 30 April 1915),[1] known as Devis before about 1882, was an English zoologist,[1]ornithologist,[2]herpetologist,[1][3] and botanist.

De Vis gained a BA from Magdelene College, Cambridge in 1849, became a deacon in 1852, and was rector of Breane, Somerset from 1855-1859.[4] He gave up his ecclesiastical functions to devote himself to science, initially in England then after 1870 in Australia.[1] De Vis also wrote under the name of Thickthorn, the name of his home in Rockhampton.

He was a founder member of the Royal Society of Queensland of which he served as president in 1888-1889, and founder member and first vice-president of the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union.[2]

His principal work concerned the fossil birds of Queensland (Darling Downs) and southern Australia (Cooper Creek),[2] but he also described a number of extant bird species. In fact, he was more successful at the latter, because due to insufficient knowledge of stratigraphy and evolution, he--like many ornithologists of his time--mistook subfossil remains of extant birds for the remains of extinct prehistoric species[].

Among species he described were the white-winged robin in 1890, and the frill-necked monarch in 1895.[5]

De Vis also worked in the scientific field of herpetology, and he described many new species of reptiles.[1][3]

De Vis is commemorated in the scientific name of an Australian venomous snake, Denisonia devisi.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e "de Vis, Charles Walter (1829 - 1915)"Australian Dictionary of Biography
  2. ^ a b c "De Vis, Charles Walter (1829 - 1915)" — Encyclopedia of Australian science
  3. ^ a b "De Vis". The Reptile Database.
  4. ^ Church of England, Central Board of Finance, Church Commissioners (1865). Crockford's Clerical Directory, 1865. Oxford University Press. p. 176 [17].CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Frill-necked Monarch (Arses lorealis) -- The Internet Bird Collection
  6. ^ 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. ("De Vis", p. 71).
  7. ^ IPNI.  De Vis.

External links

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