Thomas Reid Davys Bell (2 May 1863 – 24 June 1948) was a lepidopterist, naturalist and forest officer who worked in India. Bell collected natural history specimens, studied birds and the life histories of butterflies and moths in his spare time. His large collection of entomological specimens are held at the Natural History Museum, London. A number of species have been named from his collections, several commemorating him.
Bell was born in Bandon, Cork. Thomas was the youngest in a family of twelve. His mother left Ireland and moved to Dresden where he received his early education.He went to London for tuitions at Wren and Gurney to enter the Indian Civil Services but failed. He later wrote entrance exams to Sandhurst and Woolwich and passed but decided not to join the army. He passed the entrance for the Indian Woods and Forest Services, trained at Nancy and joined the services at Dharwad in 1884, as a Deputy Forest Officer. Here he was trained under the conservator Colonel William Henry Peyton (1830–1892), with whom he went on tiger shoots. He was also in touch with Edward Hamilton Aitken who was in the salt and excise department and James Davidson, collector of the district and along with these keen naturalists he began to study the Lepidoptera. In 1896 Davidson, then retired invited Bell to join him on a trip to Kashmir. This raised his interest in the birds of India. He also made collections of beetles which he passed on to H. E. Andrewes at the British Museum at the end of the 1890s. He was in Sind between 1905 and 1906 but returned to Belgaum. Davidson had moved back to Edinburgh and he moved to live at Karwar, North Kanara District, Bombay, India. A series on the common butterflies of India was started in the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society by L.C.H. Young, but discontinued due to his ill-health. Walter Samuel Millard contacted Bell and suggested that he complete the series and Bell reluctantly took up this task. He reared many lepidoptera specimens from larvae collected in the field and published on a variety of topics including a volume (1937) on the Sphingidae (having reared nearly 80 Indian species) in The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma in collaboration with Major F. B. Scott (who was in Assam). He corresponded with Karl Jordan and Lord Rothschild on hawkmoths. In 1911 he was made CIE. He became a Chief Conservator of Forests, Bombay Presidency in 1913, a position he held until his retirement in 1920. He worked on the grasses of the North Kanara region with L. J. Sedgwick, the collection now at St. Xavier's College in Bombay. Sedgwick and Bell founded the Journal of Indian Botany with P.F. Fyson as editor. Later he also took an interest in the orchids and his sister made illustrations of them. He joined a timber business at Sawanthwadi along with a partner who left him with significant financial losses. In 1930 he gave his entire collection of insects to the British Museum (Natural History). It had 3000 specimens of butterflies, 12000 moths, 1900 Coleoptera, 1720 Hymenoptera and 20 Orthoptera. In 1936 he worked on his moth collection at the natural history museum with Willie Horace Tams. Several insect species have been described from his collections and named after him. These include:
Bell was unmarried, and in 1937 he moved to Lucerne along with his brother to stay with their sisters. Later that year, he and his sister Eva moved to live in Karwar. They took an interest in orchids and Eva painted pictures of their flowers. Eva stayed with him until her sudden death in 1941. After her death his health declined and in 1946 a niece, Letty Bell, joined him from Switzerland. Bell's health however declined and he died in 1948 at Karwar.
The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), founded on 15 September 1883, is one of the largest non-governmental organisations in India engaged in conservation and biodiversity research. It supports many research efforts through grants and publishes the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. Many prominent naturalists, including the ornithologists Sálim Ali and S. Dillon Ripley, have been associated with it.
Kanara or Canara, also known as Karavali is the historically significant stretch of land situated by the southwestern coast of India, alongside the Arabian Sea in the present-day Indian state of Karnataka. The subregion comprises three civil districts, namely: Uttara Kannada, Udupi, and Dakshina Kannada. Kassergode was included prior to the States Reorganisation Act.
Edward Hamilton Aitken was a civil servant in India, better known for his humorist writings on natural history in India and as a founding member of the Bombay Natural History Society. He was well known to Anglo-Indians by the pen-name of Eha.
Brigadier William Harry Evans CSI CIE DSO was a lepidopterist and British Army officer who served in India. He documented the butterfly fauna of India, Burma and Ceylon in a series of articles in the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. Brigadier Evans was especially interested in the taxonomy and systematics of the butterfly families Lycaenidae and Hesperiidae an example being his A revision of the Arhopala group of Oriental Lycaenidae Bull. British Mus. , Ent., vol. 5: pp. 85–141 (1957).
Leptosia nina, the psyche, is a small butterfly of the family Pieridae and is found in Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia and Australia. The upper forewing has a black spot on a mainly white background. The flight is weak and erratic and the body of the butterfly bobs up and down as it beats its wings. They fly low over the grass and the butterfly rarely leaves the ground level.
Papilio liomedon, the Malabar banded swallowtail, is a member of the swallowtail butterfly family found in southern India. Earlier considered a subspecies of the banded swallowtail of southeast Asia, it is now considered a distinct species.
Papilio buddha, the Malabar banded peacock, is a species of swallowtail butterfly found in the Western Ghats of India. The Government of Kerala declared it as the official Kerala state butterfly.
Discolampa ethion, the banded blue Pierrot, is a contrastingly marked butterfly found in South Asia that belongs to the blues or family Lycaenidae. The species was first described by John O. Westwood in 1851.
Mangalorean Catholics are an ethno-religious community of Latin Catholics from the Diocese of Mangalore and the erstwhile South Canara area, by the southwestern coast of present-day Karnataka, India.
Castalius rosimon, the common Pierrot, is a small butterfly found in India that belongs to the lycaenids, or blues family.
Tarucus ananda, the dark Pierrot, is a small butterfly found in India that belongs to the lycaenids or blues family. It was formerly placed in the genus Castalius, and with the delimitation of Castalius versus Tarucus being not fully resolved this may well be correct.
Yule Mervyn Charles McCann was a naturalist in India. He wrote a popular book on the trees of India and edited a major regional flora apart from publishing many of his other observations, mainly in the journal of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) that he was associated with.
James Davidson FZS was a Scottish naturalist in colonial India. He studied birds and many aspects of Indian natural history during his career in the Indian Civil Service, mostly posted in the Bombay Presidency and central India.
Herbert Musgrave Phipson, was a British wine merchant and naturalist who lived in Bombay, India, from 1878 to 1905. As the honorary secretary of the Bombay Natural History Society, editor of its Journal, and manager of the Society's business and outreach activities, he played an important role in establishing the journal's reputation as the foremost natural history journal in Asia; he also influenced public science policy in the Bombay Presidency. His efforts saw fruition in the establishment of the Natural Sciences section of the Prince of Wales Museum of Western India. Phipson, who was married to the pioneering physician Edith Pechey-Phipson, co-founded, with his wife, the Pechey Phipson Sanitarium for Women and Children in Nasik, India.
Apporasa is a genus of butterflies in the family Lycaenidae, the blues. The genus is monotypic containing only Apporasa atkinsoni, the crenulate oakblue. It is found in the Indomalayan realm.
The History of Mangalore dates back to the 3rd century BC and has been ruled by a number of rulers. In the era of modern India, the area was controlled by the Portuguese in Goa and Bombay, who lost it to Shivappa Nayaka, who in turn lost it to Hyder Ali.
Charles George Nurse FES was an English military officer, naturalist, ornithologist and entomologist. He was one of many British military officers who made significant contributions to knowledge of the natural history of India. Among his discoveries were a snake, a butterfly, an ant, and a neuropteran. About 50 species of moths that he collected were described by entomologists G. Hampson and Lord Walsingham. Entomologists P. Cameron and Col. C. T. Bingham described 200 species of Hymenoptera from his collections. Nurse also discovered the species of mosquito, Anopheles nursei, later shown to carry the malarial parasite that affected the army campaigns in Mesopotamia.
Leonard John Sedgwick was an Indian civil servant who worked in the Bombay Presidency and collected and described plants as an amateur botanist. His collections are held in St Xavier's College, Bombay.
Calliophis castoe, or Castoe's coral snake, is a species of venomous snake in the family Elapidae. The species is endemic to Western Ghats in western peninsular India.