^herpetology ^| ^ˌhəːpɪˈtɒlədʒi ^| ^noun ^[mass ^noun] ^the ^branch ^of ^zoology ^concerned ^with ^reptiles ^and ^amphibians. **tl;dr Australian snakeman cheats biology practices to name as many species after himself as possible, even if they are terrible names and aren't always real species** . . Raymond Hoser is an Australian snake-catcher and party host who ["describes himself as a herpetologist"](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Hoser), though if you look at his achievements on a surface level, he would appear to be the greatest herpetologist in human history. According to [his website](http://raymondhoser.com/): > Raymond Hoser has scientifically discovered and named more species, genera, tribes and families of snakes than anyone else in history. Despite his seemingly impressive achievements, Hoser has become a notorious figure amongst biologists internationally for repeatedly abusing the system to name as many species as quickly as possible, with little regard for scientific conventions and accuracy. He is also controversial for other stances, such as his vocal criticism of Steve Irwin, or his advocacy of [venomoid snakes](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venomoid). A venomid snake is one that has had its venom glands surgically removed (typically without anaesthetic) so that they can be safely handled by people without any training in snakes. The practice is considered highly unethical and animal cruelty by most herpetologists. Ironically, Hoser is the reason it is illegal in Victoria, Australia, but this whole issue is another can of worms. Anyway, in biology, when it comes to naming a species, there exists a general [Principle of Priority](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_Priority). Basically, the first name for a species that is published becomes the official name (e.g. *Homo Sapiens* is the only valid scientific name for humans, because it was the first one used by Linnaeus). Its basically a system of finders keepers. If you discover and name a species first, that will become its official name and you will be remembered for naming it. There is very little oversight for what you can name a species, all you have to do is get it published. Obviously discovering a new species and then having it published in a peer-reviewed journal is a very difficult task, most biologists never have the honour of naming a species. If it is so difficult, then how has Hoser done it at least [752 times](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Hoser#Herpetology)? Well, according to an article in the [Scientific American](https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/tetrapod-zoology/taxonomic-vandalism-and-hoser/), > The fact is that he is very obviously, cleverly, ‘cheating’ his way through zoological nomenclature. There are two main parts of his scheme. The more simple of the two is self-publishing. Anyone can write a book or scientific article if they self-publish, which is how Hoser has done it so many times. When you are self-publishing, there is no need for peer-review or any scientific integrity. Certainly, Hoser's work has neither. Much of his writing is little more than rants and unscientific observations, usually lacking any reference to a [holotype](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holotype). His identification of species also leaves much to be desired. Whilst genetic evidence is not required, it can be extremely beneficial in demonstrating that what you have named is, in fact, a unique species. By and large, the species he is naming are either not a distinct species, or is a previously identified and named species. For example, the "pygmy" freshwater crocodile, which was based off a population discovered by Grahame Webb in 1979. Webb, like most crocodile zoologists, does not believe they are unique, rather a population that was stunted by lack of food in the region, but that didn't stop Hoser from renaming them as a new species. Other identifications are equally atrocious, such as the 'Oxyuranus scutellatus adelynhoserae', for which the body colour was determined from an isolated head alone. In other instances, the defining features have been proven as resulting from post-mortem distortion. Worst of all, he has even renamed the same species [multiple times](https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/tetrapod-zoology/taxonomic-vandalism-and-hoser/). > 'Leiopython albertisi barkeri' Hoser, 2000 is the same as 'L. a. barkerorum' Hoser, 2009 which was then redescribed as if it were new in 2012. Similarly, 'Oxyuranus scutellatus barringeri' Hoser, 2002 is the same as 'O. s. andrewwilsoni' Hoser, 2009. Another simple strategy he uses to boost his naming numbers is by naming published [cladograms](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cladogram). Sometimes its useful to have clades named for study, but for the most part, Hoser is simply finding one that nobody has bothered naming and slapping a name on it. Perhaps worst of all is how incredibly clunky and terrible his names are, they're almost never something that could be easily used by scientists or the general public. Almost every one of them is named after someone, be it him, his family, friends, or his pet dogs (yes, seriously). At least 50 species include the word Hoser. These names include: * Jackyhosernatrix * Moseselfakharikukri * Euanedwardsserpens * Martinwellstyphlops * Barrygoldsmithus * Charlespiersonserpens * Maxhoserviperina * Trevorhawkeswoodi * Sammywatsonae Imagine trying to write a paper on of these animals. They're just awful. In response, hundreds of the worlds leading biologist, herpetologists, and herpetology societies have written papers and attempted to dismiss Hoser's work as vandalism. Some of the species that Hoser (successfully) identified and named have since been renamed in other papers. The ICZN, which is responsible for overseeing the naming of these species, has yet to rule against Hoser, though it is hoped that this will happen at some point. Until then, Hoser's work has wasted countless hours of researcher time in critiquing and reanalysing. By and large, his names, whilst technically valid and official, are being ignored by many researchers. . . N.B. For the biology-minded, when I say *species* in this post, I am generally referring to any and all of superfamilies, families, subfamilies, tribes, genera, subgenera, species, and subspecies, all of which Hoser has named. I'm just trying to make it easier to understand for non-biologists.