Malvoliophis - What's behind the name?

Malvoliophis pinguis - named after the character Malvolio, in the Shakespearean play 'Twelfth Knight'.

Dr John McCosker of the California Academy of Sciences wrote:

"I must share with you a wonderful experience I had in 1972 when I first visited your museum. I had just finished my thesis and could explain the etymology of almost every ophichthid, but was stymied by Malvoliophis, named by your own Gilbert Whitley.

I had a beer with Gilbert across the way at the pub and asked him, at which point he arose, did a funny little dance, and said of course it was for Malvolio, of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, because of his cross-gartered leggings. He was polite and didn't sneer at my ignorance!"


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags Fishes, Ichthyology, Malvoliophis pinguis, Halfband Snake Eel, Ophichthidae,