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Lies masked in fraudulent "science" - the attacks on my credibility.
Raymond Hoser
PO Box 599, Doncaster, Victoria, 3108, Australia.
Phone: +61 412 777 211 Fax: +61 3 9857-4664

Also see 22 May 2009 -
Wolgang Wüster's lies versus Broghammerus and how he left a trail of deception to get caught out!


It is disappointing that the editor of this journal (Litteratura Serpentium) should fall for the ruse of reprinting a pile of trash and lies written by Wüster et. al. that had been long since discredited on various internet forums and elsewhere in January this year.

What was essentially the same piece published by Wüster et. al. in this journal had been posted by him on a Kingsnake dot com forum on January 22, 2001 at 11:28:04: and it was then systematically proven to be a litany of lies and mistruths by various correspondents (not myself).

After the litany of lies and misinformation by Wüster (and his small band of cohorts) was exposed on the various internet forums and list servers including Kingsnake, Ozherps and Australian Herps, Wüster and his partner in crime so to speak, a convicted wildlife smuggler, Mr. David Williams made a series of legal threats to the list managers to have the various posts removed.

However because the various posts by Wüster and Williams reveal a pattern of serious scientific fraud, these have been reposted at:

and mirror sites.

It is also disappointing that the editor of this journal has now damaged the credibility of this publication by 1/ Republishing the lies peddled by Wüster here and 2/ Then restricting me to a response of just 5,500 words on a "take it or leave it" basis.

On that basis I cannot systematically rebut all statements presented by Wüster et. al. in the preceding piece and or point out all the fraudulent and unethical statements made by Wüster et. al. in their piece.

However because of the significance of the attack against my good reputation by Wüster et. al., my unabridged response (published here) can be found at:

along with copies of all other relevant documents, including three fraudulently altered "papers" by David Wiliams (and Brian Starkey) (now known as versions 1, 2, and 3) as posted by them on numerous internet sites,

(go to:

Thus the following is an abridged response to the previous 8,000 odd word piece by Wüster et al. which as I just said, is nothing more than a direct attack on my character and credibility.

This continued attack is very much in the spirit of the various posts cited below, including: Williams (1998, 1999a-b, 2001a-k and others), Williams and Starkey (1998 - previously incorrectly cited as 1999, and the two later versions posted on January 29 and 30, 2001 which go under the citations here as Williams and Starkey 1999a-c), and the countless posts by Wüster including: Wüster (1999, 2000, and 2001a-z).

These false and defamatory arguments have already been systematically proven to be lies and not much more by numerous independent correspondents, including the following cited below: Brammell (2001a-d), Eipper (2001a-c), Frome (2001a-b), Hughett (2001a-c), Paull (2001), and others.

It is very unfortunate that this totally inappropriate mud-slinging and smear, thinly veiled as scientific comment should now be moved into this journal, but now that the battleground has shifted so to speak, I shall defend my good name.

I asked the editor not to publish the Wüster piece on the basis it was so replete with errors, but my advice was ignored. Refer to van Aken (2001a-b) and other similar e-mails from van Aken.


However before I address the issues raised in that piece I shall give a brief chronology of events to put this later chapter in some perspective.

For over 20 years I have actively worked and campaigned for a legal regime in Australia that allows herpetology as hobby and science to progress.

This was particularly the case in the state of New South Wales, where the regime against herpetologists was particularly oppressive and as a rule it was illegal for anyone to legally keep reptiles, except for a very select few.

Following publication of my book Smuggled-2 and a series of failed defamation actions against the book in 1996, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) were forced to terminate the employment of a number of named corrupt people in the department and introduce a workable licencing system in the state for the first time.

Because New South Wales is Australia's largest state in terms of population, the precedent was then set, whereby other states without a workable licencing system (such as Western Australia) were then forced to fall into line.

Smuggled and the sequel Smuggled-2 are just two of seven books I have written specifically dealing with corruption in Australia (Hoser 1993, 1995, 1996, 1999b, 1999c, 2000d, 2000e).

Contrary to the aspersions cast by Wüster et. al. the corruption within the books is not merely "alleged", but in fact documented as fact.

We have had over 49 defamation actions against myself and publisher Kotabi claiming material within the books was incorrect and every case failed.

In every single judgement the courts have found every word of each book to be 100% true and correct.

Readers of this journal can safely conclude that the Supreme Courts of New South Wales and Victoria have a higher degree of credibility than the likes of Wolfgang Wüster and his cohorts.

The books have caused the demise of two State governments (Qld and Victoria), a Royal Commission (Victoria) and numerous people adversely named in the books have been forced out of their jobs, criminally charged and jailed. That list is extensive.

By way of example, what Wüster et. al call "allegations" in my books were sufficient to land Victorian Policeman Kevin Hicks in jail for several years for drug trafficking, ditto several other Victiorian cops and ditto for SA Policeman Barry Moyce.

I could go on and on, but I think the point has been made.

However in airing dirty linen in my books, I have been attacked by many of those named and labeled "anti" this and "anti" that by my detractors, including Wüster et. al., who falsely claim I am "anti" institution (more on this later).

In 1993 I published Smuggled: The Underground Trade in Australia's Wildlife which detailed warts and all the Australian wildlife trade, both legal and illegal.

In that book I detailed some of the smuggling activity by Queensland snakie David Williams, who in February 1992 pled guilty and was convicted of the relevant smuggling charges in a Queensland court.

In the sequel Smuggled-2 I detailed more of Williams' activities; this time his failed Austoxin venture in New Guinea which turned out to be nothing more than a front for smuggling snakes from New Guinea to the northern hemisphere.

I chose not to detail other activities by Williams on the basis of relevance.

Williams didn't sue, I assume because all that I published had long been on the public record and was true and correct.

However he has since then made innumerable cowardly attacks on myself and my credibility at every opportunity.

This has included on various internet forums, where more recently he has been joined by his small band of followers including the likes of Wüster et. al.

When the "debate" turned against Williams he cut off access to his list server for those who were posting against him. When the same thing happened on John Fowler's Australian Herps list and Kingsnake dot com forums Williams threatened to sue the list managers if they allowed the posts to remain, so they were wiped.

When Victorian herpetologist Neil Davie pointed out fraudulent and/or unethical practices by Williams and Wüster on the Kingsnake forums, Williams petitioned Barringer to have Davie's access cut off and it was.

And now the same lies are being peddled in this journal.

We sought legal advice in relation to suing Williams for defamation in 1999 in relation to another unrelated character assassination by him of myself on the internet. We were advised against suing him on the basis that he had a bad credit history (debts totaling tens of thousands of dollars) and we would be unlikely to recover any financial damages from him in the event that we won.

Bearing in mind the fact that myself and my publishing company, Kotabi successfully got court issued damages awards against two other persons, namely Neil Mayger (For $7,000) and Adam Anthony Zoccolii (for $24,000), the latter in a defamation action, and we were then unable to recover our money because they both declared bankruptcy, we were not keen to go down this path again.

And hence Williams and his cohorts continue to peddle lies and other defamatory statements against me, safe in the knowledge that we have effectively no legal redress.

Effectively the same Wüster piece you have read in this journal was first published on Kingsnake dot com in January this year, and then "shopped" among friends and people who owed him favors in order to get some other "names" before being sent to the editor of this journal on 5 May 2001 (four months later).

This editor fell for the ruse.


Contrary to what Wüster et. al may claim about my alleged theft of research, the real story is very different.

In 1998, I visited and stayed with Ballarat (Victoria) herpetologist Roy Pails. He showed me what he alleged was a new species of "King Brown Snake" and asked me to publish a description of it.

Pails is not a taxonomist and unlike Williams, Wüster et. al. does not pretend to be. I asked Pails to justify why his snake was "different" and Pails gave me a host of explanations. However none of them satisfied myself as being diagnostic in that they could definitively separate the snakes.

A subsequent scale count of this "new" species and a series of "normal" King Brown Snakes (Cannia australis) by the pair of us revealed consistent differences in subcaudal counts and the size and shape of the rostral (top-snout) scale between specimens of each species from the same area. Coupled with the suite of other characteristics outlined by Pails (smaller adult size, slimmer more gracile build, etc., all of which on their own could be said to fit within the normal range of C. australis) I was satisfied that I had a new and sympatric species.

As the species were sympatric and clearly different, there was no need to engage in molecular biology methods to separate the two and so none was done.

The fact is that most species of reptile known to science were described without having their DNA inspected.

However before I could go ahead and describe the "new" species I had to do a check of the literature to see if there was any descriptions that already fitted the "new" species and had somehow been overlooked and/or later placed in synonymy with C. australis.

This part was a straight forward process of elimination.

A check of Cogger et. al (1983) and Wells and Wellington (1983 and 1985) revealed several other descriptions since regarded as being redescriptions of C. australis. Through a process of further elimination I was able to ascertain that none of these were of the same "new" species Pails had.

Again the process was simple. In most descriptions the scale counts alone excluded the snakes, while for those which lacked this information, I was able to go to the institution and look at the type and/or contact the relevant curator to do this for me.

Now for someone who is as Wüster et. al. claims "anti" institution, this may seem like a strange course to take … going to the institutions I'm meant to be "anti", but the reality really is far more mundane than the lies in this case.

And yes, I defy Wüster to find a single thing written by me stating that the various museum curators have failed to assist me in my many requests for such help over the last twenty years.

(Perhaps if Wüster et. al knew some of those in the list of names acknowledged in my books Australian Reptiles and Frogs (Hoser 1989) and Endangered Animals of Australia (Hoser 1991) they'd realise that a sizeable number come from these museums and other institutions he claims I am "anti").

Returning to my investigations of the new species, further telephone checks with some of these people at these various institutions and what I shall hereby call well-informed amateurs revealed no other "descriptions" of relevance to my "new" species.

I then published the description of this snake calling it "Pailsus pailsei" (Hoser 1998b)

Now contrary to what Wüster et. al. claim, the description does in fact more than adequately separate this species from all others known in Australia. And because of that fact, I will allow that description to stand on its own merits.

And so, if I "stole" any information from anyone, I suppose it was Roy Pails in Ballarat, but then again, he asked me to describe the snake.

And because of his contribution to herpetology, I named the species and genus after him.


The real story in regards to Pailsus rossignollii is also similar.

In a casual phone conversation between Italian herpetologist Joe Mara and myself, he mentioned a "King Brown Snake" that he had that hadn't grown more than three feet in length and he thought may have some kind of unknown ailment.

Further questioning by myself led me to ascertain that the snake was in fact "Pailsus".

He also advised me it was from New Guinea.

Further inquiries revealed that all so-called King Brown Snakes from New Guinea were in fact of this species and that it was sufficiently different from the two known Australian specimens to be placed in a separate species.

That description was then published in this journal and it too stands on is merits (Hoser 2000a)

The irony is that there was a two-year period where I was actively pursuing this latter species and there was never any secret in the fact that I was describing it and all my letters, e-mails and the like sent all over the place to dozens of individuals consistently made this point clear.

Furthermore there was never any indication in relation to any of these descriptions that other people intended describing any of them and based on the information just given, there was no reason to suspect anyone was intending to do so (more on this later).


I could give similar accounts for my Death Adder and python descriptions, but the background stories are similarly mundane.

In the case of the Pilbara Adder (Acanthophis wellsei), I was told repeatedly that this snake was not being "named" by anyone there because the species had already been named by Wells and Wellington in the 1980's and called A. armstrongi. The rule of "priority" prevented the species being renamed.

During my extensive review of the genus I was able to ascertain that the type specimen of A. armstrongi was in fact an A. pyrrhus and therefore the other species remained unnamed. Hence I named it (Hoser 1998a).

It was the proper thing to do!

As I had no consultations in the preceding period with either Aplin or Donnellan, it would have been impossible to know that they were also looking at the species. However I accept their assurances that they were in fact ready to publish a description of the snake and were inadvertently pipped at the post so to speak.

And that is why I allowed Aplin to publish his piece in a later issue of Monitor (Aplin 1999).

Now I have heard Wüster et. al. claim I that should have consulted with Aplin and Donnellan before I published my Adder paper. But the reality is probably the reverse.

After all, prior to 1988 (the relevant date) it was common knowledge that I had inspected vast numbers of Death Adders (including in museums) since as far back as 1978 and published numerous papers on them.

Based on the assumption I was a recognised authority on these snakes, one would have expected anyone describing a new form to make contact with me. By contrast, neither Aplin or Donnellan had published much if anything on the genus, hence no flagging need for me to consult with them prior to publication.

But the important thing for my detractors is not whether the name is Acanthophis wellsei Hoser or Acanthophis something-elsei Aplin, but rather that the species is in fact properly named.

And so I ask my detractors to get over the distaste for having to use "Hoser names" because in another 100 years hardly anyone will know who Hoser, Wüster or anyone else of us were anyway! … just like few herpers these days know who Shaw, Lesueur or Waite were.


Again for this paper (Hoser 2000b), we have a case whereby at no stage did any other "herpetologist" come out of the woodwork and say to me "whoa, I'm about to describe the same thing, let me do it!" … that is except once.

My paper describing numerous new taxa of python was originally written in 1998 and due to be published in Monitor 10 (2/3). However because of the allegations by David Williams and his cohorts that I was using the journal I was at the time editor of to publish my own descriptions, thereby avoiding any kind of peer review process, the paper was held over.

That was not to review the paper as it had already been independently looked at.

Rather it was to avoid the previous criticism.

The paper was then submitted to and published in Ophidia Review in October 2000.

The journal was originally due to be published in December 1999 and advertised on the website as being available from then as far back as October the same year.

Which incidentally was the same time that I attended the Australian Herpetological Society 50th Anniversary conference in Sydney.

Also attending was Dave Barker of VPI (USA), who told me he was in the process of describing three new species of Scrub Python from Halmahera, Ambon and the Tanimbar group.

I told him I'd already done that for them and that the paper was in press.

He politely asked me if I could somehow "pull" the names as it wasn't just him working on them, but a whole group of people.

I said I'd try.

I was able to do this ("pull the names") because the journal hadn't been printed and so I effectively ceded Barker et. al. "naming rights" to the three species and also thereby kept the peace.

The snakes were eventually named Morelia clastolepis, M. nauta and M. tracyae by Harvey et. al (Barker being a co-author) instead of Australiasis valentici, A. haydnmcphiei and A. greeri by Hoser.

However even this didn't stop the allegations against me from my detractors. You see the truth doesn't seem to have much currency for these people.


In relation to the preceding piece by Wüster et. al., I do not have major problem with their summary of the ICZN's rules and ethics. That is in effect the "padding" for their following character assassination of myself, done with a combination of lies and misinformation, which is the real reason for them writing their piece.

The false and baseless allegations against me when melded against the backdrop of the pseudo-science as apparently practiced by Wüster et. al. must be corrected.

However, before proceeding with specifics, the aim of the exercise by Wüster et. al is to deny me credit for anything herpetological. The general scheme is therefore thus:

A/ When they think I have properly named a valid taxa, to falsely accuse me of stealing naming rights or the science from someone else and

B/ When they disagree with my taxonomy or nomenclature, to thereby ridicule and/or rubbish my "science" or methods, preferably by simultaneously attacking my credibility.

In other words I am to be damned no matter what I do.


By way of example on Thu, 1 Feb 2001 at 19:29:43 +1100 John Weigel put a post on the herp list (Weigel 2001a) and launched into a vicious attack on myself.

The post read:

"A disappointing feature of Ray's many 'new' species is that his 'discoveries' never actually appear to be his own. The theft of 'rossingnoli' or whatever Ray has called it in his personal journal, was the subject of much work from the labs of Keogh, Kuch, and apparently others … I note that Ray hints about his upcoming description of three new taxa of scrub pythons. The work being done by Dave Barker and others on these snakes is well known to Ray, and if he once again 'shafts' those who have made the discoveries (and are entitled to take more than 5 minutes to rant a description on a personal web site or pet magazine and undertake a proper scientific study), then I think his legacy in herpetology will be cast - any constructive contributions will be unlikely to mean squat."

The two key points are as follows:

1/ Litteratura Serpentium is NOT my personal journal and Weigel should have known this before rushing into print and launching his unfounded attack.

2/ Secondly (and you can see by the date above), Weigel had falsely accused me of plotting to steal naming rights for three species of Python some four months after my own python paper had appeared in print in Ophidia Review.

And here's what I wrote about those species in that paper:

"This author had assigned names to forms previously regarded as A. amethistina that is found in Islands to the north-west and south-west of New Guinea, however they were withdrawn from this paper after it became apparent that David Barker and others were similarly subdividing the genus Austroliasis as it is described here."

So the truth was really quite opposite!

And yes, my major concern is not that I name the species, but rather that the species is correctly named - regardless of who actually publishes the description - in this case Barker et. al.

In another post dated: Sat, 3 Feb 2001 11:20:02 +1100 (Weigel 2001b) on Weigel claimed to have inspected large numbers of "King Brown Snakes" in Museums and found lots of Pailsus pailsei/Cannia weigeli from the top end of the Northern Territory, going on to state that it was a common species. Weigel even asserted that the type specimen of "Pseudechis australis" was in fact a Pailsus pailsei/Cannia weigeli.

He claimed to have (conveniently?) lost his data in the big reptile park fire of mid 2000.

I knew Weigel was lying about the latter argument.

You see I had already ascertained that the type specimen of P. australis was NOT Pailsus pailsei/Cannia weigeli. The subcaudal count alone excluded that possibility!

As for the other assertion about having checked the museum specimens: well I was unable to test that.

However I inspected all specimens listed as P. australis at the Queensland Museum (including NT specimens) and found just one Pailsus pailsei/Cannia weigeli and that was from near Mt. Isa. I also inspected most "P. australis" at the Australian Museum from relevant locations and again only found one (again from near Mt. Isa).

They had specimens from all mainland states bar Victoria. Curators at both places said that Weigel had not to their knowledge checked these snakes.

While it is possible that Weigel checked other states museums instead, my instincts tell me that his first statement was probably as credible as the last.

As for why he made these various and misleading statements on the herp lists, I can only guess that it was in an attempt to try to make the name Cannia weigeli gain some sort of currency over Pailsus pailsei.

However in reality Weigel's statements did nothing of the sort.

You see the dates, substance and other relevant parts of both the Hoser and Wells and Wellington "publications" are effectively set in stone.

Unless and until the exact status of the type specimens in relation to one another AND the status of the Wells and Wellington publication is properly agreed upon in terms of the ICZN's rules, the correct names for these snakes (at all levels) will remain somewhat in doubt.

And unlike Weigel, Williams, Wüster and their cohorts, I am (with others) working towards these objectives. Furthermore I have no bias as to the ultimate result, save that it be the correct one.


Wüster et. al. (2001) correctly stated that a description of a new species should include:

"clear descriptions of characters, and how they can help differentiate the new species from all potentially confusing species. The aim of the diagnosis should be to allow even persons relatively unfamiliar with the taxa concerned to distinguish between the new species and its closest relatives (although this may sometimes be difficult in practice). In the case of very clearly and obviously distinct forms, the diagnosis can be brief, whereas in more difficult groups, a very extensive diagnosis may be required."

They then falsely claim my descriptions fail on that basis.

Well the real fact is that the descriptions don't and I suggest that they go back and re-read them. The descriptions stand on their merits and based on the e-mails and letters received, it seems that more people agree with my taxonomy and scientific methodology, than disagree.

Wüster et. al. also make the statement that a number of scientific descriptions are accepted by the scientific community "without much question". Rigorous science demands that everything be questioned and if descriptions are in fact accepted without question, then that is wrong.

I am happy to have my science, methods and conclusions tested and scrutinzed and fortunately it will eventually be scientists of a higher calibre than Wüster and his mates that will ultimately decide whether or not, not only my own, but other peoples descriptions are in fact correct or not.


Wüster et. al have lied about the ICZN's 2000 code within the context of the names I assigned to species.

While it is correct that I have not followed strict latinizing processes, the names assigned are clearly "deliberate" and not "inadvertent" and therefore do not need amending.

The variants were chosen for ease of use by herpetologists at all levels (from professional to novice) and while I accept that it is a break from usual convention it is perfectly legal within the ICZN's code and I would advocate more of it.

The relevant part of the code is 32.5.1 and was misquoted by Wüster et. al. It actually reads thus:

"Spellings that must be corrected (incorrect original spellings). 32.5. 1. If there is in the original publication itself, without recourse to any external source of information, clear evidence of an inadvertent error, such as a lapsus calan-ii or a copyist's or printer's error, it must be corrected. Incorrect transliteration or latinization, or use of an inappropriate connecting vowel, are not to be considered inadvertent errors."


Wüster et. al. allege that my descriptions fail to provide adequate information to substantiate a species description.

The statement can be tested by reading the descriptions themselves and is shown to be a another lie.

My confidence in the descriptions is sufficiently great to enable me to post them all on my website at for all to see, which incidentally sits well with the ICZN's call for wide dissemination.


Wüster et. al complain that some of the python taxa described are separated (in part) by scalation and other characteristics which are not 100% general for the form.

They then fail to note that such information is common to other descriptions of python taxa in Australia including those published by Gow and Smith, which have somehow managed to escape their criticisms.

One can only ask then that if Hoser is merely following a several decade old convention rather than setting it, then why is all this criticism being directed at him and not the others?

It's therefore obvious that there is another more sinister agenda.


Wüster et. al. complain about the relative lack of specimens inspected by myself prior to publication of the descriptions, with idiot questions like:

"what were his sample sizes for establishing the range of variation in his new species or those he seeks to diagnose them from? Where can another researcher find these specimens and examine them for himself?'"

In answer to Wüster et. al's first idiot question, again this indicates they have failed to read the descriptions as ALL this information is provided.

And in answer to Wüster et al.'s second idiot question, if Wüster et. al. had read the ICZN's code they would know that it is mandatory to provide this information in the description in terms of the type specimens and that they must be available for inspection in a museum … and more importantly all the Hoser descriptions provide this material.

(PS Look under the heading "HOLOTYPE"!).

Furthermore, it is not unusual to publish a species description based on a single specimen. Many reptiles have been described on that basis.

Wüster et. al. are running a red-herring attacking my science on the basis that I published the Pailsus descriptions when only in the possession or access to just two specimens (for pailsei) and a slightly larger number of rossignollii specimens.

Noting that in the case of Australia there were legal constraints on getting permits to collect more specimens (as of 2001 we still await the permits from Q/NPWS) and a civil war in Irian Jaya, it would be ridiculous to hold off publication perhaps for some years while we wait for the chance to collect further specimens.

My judgement (for better or worse) made in 1988 was in hindsight correct.

You see the situation three years later remains effectively unchanged.


The comparison between Harvey et. al. (2000) and Hoser (2000) is effectively meaningless as provided by Wüster et. al.. The clear implication is that because the former paper is longer and more detailed it is in fact "superior".

Such is not necessarily the case, although I am not in a good position to make such a comparison anyway.

However the comparison is a bit like comparing apples with oranges.

If one were to use the same sort of comparison between my species descriptions and those of all other snakes described in Australia's history, one would find that my own descriptions are in fact longer and more detailed than the overwhelming majority of them.

Under Wüster et. al.'s somewhat dubious criteria my papers would therefore be "superior" to most.

Many of the other species descriptions, including those by such well-known names like Storr, Gray and others are often just a few lines in length and provide far less information than any of my descriptions.

By way of example, Laurie Smith's "diagnosis" for Morelia carinata (which he called Python carinatus) has not been called into question even though it was only one short sentence.

If Wüster et. al. seek to claim brevity as a criticism of my species descriptions, then there are numerous well-known names in herpetology who stand out in front of me.


The so-called online "paper" by Williams and Starkey (versions 1, 2 and 3) were all defective. A critique of the original version dated 1 November 1988 was published in Monitor 10 (2/3).

It is not repeated here for reasons of space - but should be.

Wüster et. al here stated "In the case of Pailsus, Hoser (1998b) only differentiated his species P. pailsei from Pseudechis australis, but makes no attempt to differentiate it from Pseudechis as a whole, as noted by Williams & Starkey (1999)."

This again indicates that Wüster, Williams and their cohorts have again either not read or (more likely) have chosen to ignore what was written in the original paper.

Furthermore it would be impossible to confuse Pailsus with any other "Pseudechis" such as P. colletti, P. butleri, P. porphyriacus or P. guttatus due to a whole raft of characteristics including their radically different morphology and colours.

Then again, if I had published at length the differences between say Pailsus pailsei from Mount Isa and Red-Bellied Black Snakes (Pseudechis porphyriacus) restricted to wetter parts of Eastern Australia, I'd then be criticized by Wüster et. al. for providing too much irrelevant information.

Either way I am damned! … and Wüster at. al. will make sure of that!


Wüster et. al. attack me for using a different taxonomic arrangement to Kluge (1993).

Sorry to shatter Wüster et. al.'s illusions, but I am not alone on this.

Wüster et. al's comments also fly in the face of their earlier comments re the somewhat arbitrary nature of the placement of species within genera.

Like Wüster et. al. I agree that common ancestry is a prerequisite for species being placed in like groups (be they genera, family or whatever).

However the area of dispute or argument between myself and no doubt others seems to be how far back one takes the common ancestry line.

At one extreme we see the likes of Storr, Smith and Johnstone (1986) who place all Australian pythons except Aspidites in Morelia, while we see those at the other end of the spectrum such as Wells and Wellington dividing up this group into component (sub?) genera, with most other herpetologists currently sitting somewhere in between.

As Cogger says in the foreward to his book (Cogger 1996), it is not always possible to tell which name is correct and as science progresses the prevailing opinions as to what is correct may well change … and so it should.

However within the context of the Wells and Wellington (1985) classification system for Australian pythons and the Kluge derived tree produced by Wüster et. al. in this journal it is perfectly reasonable to assert that the species boeleni should be placed in its own genus.

And yes, I did that in Hoser (2000b).


The account by Wüster et. al. regarding Cannia weigeli from the Kimberly region of Western Australia is partially correct.

The "description" if that's the correct word, was written by Wells and Wellington in 1987. It consisted of a typed "paper" that was then photocopied and disseminated.

As far as I can ascertain, only a handful of copies were ever distributed. It was never published in a journal as such and based on the fact that it was merely presented in the form of a few photocopied sheets, it probably fails to fit the ICZN's code, namely section 8.1.3. which says:

To be published properly and in accordance with the code "it must have been produced in an edition containing simultaneously obtainable copies by a method that assures numerous identical and durable copies."

The relative lack of copies and the relatively undurable nature of the publication in my view fail to meet the grade.

However this is not the full story.

I first became aware of this "description" only after the publication of my Pailsus pailsei description in mid 1998 when Richard Wells called me and told me of his earlier "description".

I asked him for a copy but he said he was unable to provide one.

He was unable to offer me guidance as to where I could find one.

Checks of the Australian and Victorian Museums also failed to locate a copy of this alleged description.

A later e-mail from John Weigel in 1998 also gave me no joy, when he claimed to have seen it, but then said he'd thrown it away.

Finally a copy arrived in my fax machine (unsolicited) from Peter Mirtschin in South Australia with a notation on it that it may interest me.

This copy had been faxed to Mirtschin from Ross Wellington.

Further conversations with Richard Wells led to Wells telling me that he thought that Pailsus pailsei and Cannia weigeli were probably separate species or at least subspecies, with no Pailsus being known from the intervening parts of the Northern Territory.

At that time the whereabouts of the alleged type specimen of "Cannia weigeli" was not known so I was effectively unable to proceed further with enquiries into the matter.

In 2001, following the campaign against me by Wüster et. al. on the internet, Glen Shea contacted me via e-mail (Shea 2001) to tell me what he knew of "Cannia weigeli".

He stated that he had published a mention of the Wells and Wellington description in Herpetofauna the same year (by way of synonymy with P. australis) and that he also regarded the Wells and Wellington "paper" as being validly published and/or the Herpetofauna reference somehow validating the original description.

In March 2001, Covacevich told me she disagreed with the assertion that the Wells and Wellington "paper" (Wells and Wellington 1987) was published and/or validated by Shea.

For the benefit of readers of this journal who may be confused, the earlier Wells and Wellington papers published in 1983 and 1985 were published in a proper magazine style journal called the "Australian Journal of Herpetology".

The "Cannia weigeli" description was not.

And so it wasn't so much a case of the Cannia weigeli description being ignored, but rather that next to no one, including those who should, knew of it.

If nothing else, it appears that Wells and Wellington failed one of the ICZN Code's recommendations to widely disseminate their "paper".

What is 100% certain is that "Cannia weigeli" and Pailsus pailsei are very similar, if not the same. No doubt the picture will become clearer in time.

Whether or not there are one or two species and what they are ultimately called is not my major concern.

Nor am I overly concerned as to whether the snakes ultimately carry "Hoser names" or "Wells and Wellington names".

Rather I am principally concerned that the snakes do in fact carry correct names and are properly identified.


Wüster et. al. infer that I may have named a lot of "non-taxa" in terms of pythons and that I risk diverting conservation effort to saving species not in need of such, but then fail to provide any evidence to support what in fact a false assertion.

By way of example, the South-west Woma was recognised as distinct as far back as 1993 by Cogger et. al. who singled it out for conservation measures in their action plan (Cogger, et. al. 1993).

My naming of this form as Aspidites ramsayi panoptes merely formalised the process.

The mere fact that the variant does not appear in Cogger (1992) or more recent editions of the same text does not make it invalid or prove it doesn't exist.

The harsh fact is that had I not named the sub-species someone else would have.

And the other harsh reality is that Wüster and his cohorts have a real problem with this … namely using a "Hoser name".

Ditto for the Black-headed Pythons from North-west Australia long recognised as being different from those from the East (the type locality).

Again I merely formalised what was already known.

And no, I didn't claim to "discover" any of these snakes.

And so far at least I haven't been falsely accused of stealing anyone else's naming rights for these!

And then perhaps I should also mention that my "non-taxa" as Wüster likes to call them, have been recognized by such diverse authors as Aplin and Donnellan (1999), Sutherland (1999) and others.


Wüster et. al. allege I have violated the ICZN's code of ethics.

However in reality it is himself and his cohorts who stand guilty of this crime (more on that part shortly).

Wüster et. al. falsely claimed I deliberately rushed into print my description of A. wellsei to beat Aplin and Donnellan in violation of the code. However it is common knowledge that we had no contact in the relevant period and hence I couldn't have known that Aplin and Donnellan intended going to print with a description.


As for the assertion that Williams, Starkey and O'Shea were intending to publish a description of a PNG "Pseudechis" and Hoser rushed to print to beat them … well that's already been shown up as a lie repeatedly on the Kingsnake dot com forums and elsewhere.

The real story is a serious case of scientific fraud perpetrated by and endorsed by David Williams, Starkey and Wüster, et. al.

The original defective online paper quoted as "Williams and Starkey 1999" concluded by "formally" declaring Pailsus as being synonymous with Pseudechis australis.

It is clear that in writing the so-called paper Williams and Starkey were unaware of the ICZN's rules which effectively prevented the preceding action by Williams and Starkey as carrying any weight as such. But that error on their part is not what's relevant.

The logic and reasoning used to synonymise the two forms was defective, in large part because the paper compared subcaudal scales between Pailsus and "Pseudechis colletti".

Because of the raft of other differences between the two species, the Williams/Starkey action had about as much relevance as comparing apples with oranges.

For the benefit of readers, this paper is now generally known as "Version 1".

The same view was endorsed by Wüster and O'Shea who both claimed to be working with Williams.

Now bearing in mind that this paper and similar comments had been posted far and wide by these people, there was absolutely no secret in the "fact" that these people thought that Pailsus was nothing more than an underfed and undersized "Pseudechis australis".

In fact as recently as 23 January 2001, David Williams posted on Kingsnake dot com the following condescending comment to Scott Eipper:

"I hate to burst your bubble son, but there is absolutely no conclusive evidence whatsoever to 'prove' that these snakes (Pailsus) are anything other than local variants of Pseudechis australis."

On that basis I'd have to be a psychic to realise that this was a "front" so that the same group could go ahead and prepare a description of a New Guinea Pailsus without my knowledge, further bearing in mind that it was common knowledge that I was looking at New Guinea Pailsus.

The scientific fraud really started in early 2001 when Williams and Wüster got onto the internet and started to claim that I had somehow stolen their naming rights to this species (P. rossignollii).

This followed by Williams reposting his paper on the www at another site.

However this time there were a few noticeable alterations and hence this paper has since become known as "Version 2"

One alteration was the address for Brian Starkey. That part was benign.

The date at the bottom had also been removed.

That I suppose was also benign.

What wasn't quite so benign was a citation tacked into the "paper" and cited in full at the end.

It read as follows:

"O'SHEA MT, WILLIAMS DJ, WÜSTER W, BIGILALE IH, and STARKEY BA (1998) A new species of highly venomous elapid snake of the genus Pseudechis from southern coastal Papua New Guinea - taxonomy, conservation status and medical implications. Unpublished (in preparation)."

The key element here was to add credibility to the new assertion I had deliberately sought to steal naming rights to the species.

However this new addition didn't quite push Williams, Wüster, et. al. over the line.

You see the ICZN's code of ethics (which Wüster et. al. are falsely claiming I violated) gives a 12 month limitation on the so-called "hands off" period.

This is so as to stop people "claiming" species and then effectively monopolizing all work on them for years on end while they think about publishing a description.

Even with this fraudulent addition, Williams, Wüster, et. al. failed to place me outside of the ICZN's code of ethics.

Once Williams' attention was drawn to this shortcoming in his "paper" out came what's now become known as "Version 3".

This one had an added in text citation 'O'Shea et. al. (1999)', thus effectively placing me inside the 12 months "hands off" period.

The problem this time was that Williams forgot to do the same to the citation at the end of the paper, which still had the 1998 date.

Williams also neglected to remove all the earlier versions of his paper that he smattered all over the internet on different servers. That was no doubt to take advantage of the benefits of so-called "search engines" to ensure maximum exposure for his "paper".

The three versions of the perennially morphing paper were then posted on Kingsnake dot com by Pete Brammell and have since been archived all over the place.

And yes, Wüster came in and actively supported the Williams fraud with a whole raft of lame excuses. In a post to Kingsnake dot com dated February 03, 2001 at 04:19:28: Wüster stated that the scientific fraud perpetrated by Williams had occurred but then went on to say that it wasn't "relevant" to their arguments.

He then went on to threaten to sue anyone who dared repost the earlier Versions of the fraudulently altered paper claiming "copyright" over the material.

But Wüster was right about one very important thing. It was his side that had the copyright on committing scientific fraud!

And yes, in spite of repeated requests from numerous other concerned correspondents, Wüster refused to divorce himself from the Williams/Starkey fraud.

And while I may have differences of opinions on some matters with Richard Wells (the man who co-described "Cannia weigeli"), we are at one in being of the view that the alteration of the Williams/Starkey paper is one of the most blatant cases of scientific fraud ever perpetrated (Wells pers. comm. Dated 4 Feb 2001).

The Williams fraud coupled with the attacks against myself got even worse when it became clear that Williams was posting on the various internet forums under a series of different names.

During this period, Wüster even let it be known in another post that he hadn't even seen any New Guinea Pailsus and knew nothing of them.

Thus the assertion that I was somehow poaching a species name from Williams, Wüster and others was well and truly buried.

Most of the relevant posts, including the three versions of the Williams/Starkey paper can be found on one of my websites.

At the time of writing this piece they can be found online at, and mirrors.

They were posted on the site following a series of requests on Kingsnake dot com for them to be posted online as a permanent record of scientific fraud by Williams et. al.


And it wasn't just Williams who was onto the caper of falsely claiming that Pailsus pailsei = Pseudechis australis.

Wolfgang Wüster was also posting far and wide that they were the same thing.

So if Wüster is now claiming the opposite - namely that he intended describing the New Guinea variant as a new species, then why for example did he allow the following to appear at Peter Uetz's:[REPTILIA-Species:'Pailsus_SP_pailsei'

I quote it:


Pailsus pailsei


Pailsus pailsei HOSER 1998



Serpentes: Elapidae snakes


Australia (N-Queensland)


Questionable genus and species. Probably synonymous to Pseudechis australis (W. Wüster,

pers. comm.) "

Now reading this in 1999 and again in 2000-2001 (see: Uetz 1998-2001), you'd be led to believe that Wüster in fact had expertise on these snakes and so was somehow qualified to voice an expert opinion.

But in early 2001 after the Williams/Wüster fraud became all too obvious, he attempted to distance himself from David Williams when he told the list:

" I am not personally familiar with these animals (New guinea Pailsus), and I have quite openly stated this myself".

Now bearing in mind that Wüster has now shifted his attack to this forum and falsely accused me of rushing to print without adequate information, Wüster had already had himself tried and convicted himself of this very offence.

You see it was Wüster who had been publishing his views on these snakes as an "expert" when in reality he had no knowledge of these snakes … which incidentally is hardly the basis from which to plot to publish a description (which we may recall is the position Wüster has also periodically claimed).


And perhaps I should actually enlighten readers of this journal as to what Wüster had to say after the whole Williams/Wüster fraud was exposed via the Kingsnake dot com forums. It was Neil Davie of Geelong (whom both Wüster and David Williams falsely claimed was myself) who finally got Wüster to retract the lie that I had somehow stolen "naming rights" to Pailsus rossignollii.

Wüster 's post on January 28, 2001 at 03:59:11: read thus:

"Hi Neil,

Thought you'd gone?

: Did Hoser really steal naming rights for Pailsus rossignollii from

: Williams as Williams has recently claimed?

No, and Williams did not claim so…"


David Williams had earlier claimed I'd stolen his research.

But that in itself would have been some mean feat.

You see I sit here based in Melbourne (Australia), while Williams, somewhat itinerant, tends to hover somewhere in the general vicinity of Cairns, Queensland, a distance of over 3000 kms. Now bearing in mind he's been at loggerheads with me and I've never seen anything written by him of herpetological note, save for a couple of minor (and in this instance irrelevant) papers, I have no idea as to how I was supposed to have got into his filing system and stolen key data on anything!


In terms of Ulrich Kuch. Yes I did send him some skin from Pailsus pailsei. However Wüster et. al. know that I couldn't have stolen naming rights from him as the snake had long since been described by that stage and the request for the skin had been initiated by Kuch seeing my original properly published description.

Which gets us to another important point. I freely share my information and data with other herpetologists. However at no stage has Williams or Wüster revealed any of their alleged data on their alleged new species, which is ironic based on their claim that herpetologists should consult widely with other herpetologists with similar interests before publication of descriptions.

Now surely if Williams and Wüster were in fact thinking of describing a New Guinea Pailsus, you'd think I'd be the first person they'd approach to share and compare notes with!

Particularly as it was common knowledge that I'd already described this thing we now know of as Pailsus pailsei!

Oops!, it points again to Williams and Wüster et. al. violating the ICZN's code of ethics!


Yes it is also true that I requested the editor of Litteratura Serpenmtium (Gijs van Aken) to speed up publication of the Pailsus rossignolli description.

However that isn't the full story. But the full story can be confirmed by van Aken's own e-mails.

Another editor (Marcel van der Voort) received the paper in early 2000 and said that it would be published in the August issue.

Typically I receive the journal here in Australia in the first week of the month after publication date and so by week two of September I put a notification of the description on my website. After that I received the journal and the description was not in it.

I was also advised by a mutual friend of myself and Brian Starkey that David Williams had seen the notification and intended "publishing" his own "description" of the species and then back-dating it to claim priority.

Based on Williams' past form, I accepted that the story was credible and then contacted the other editor of Litteratura Serpentium (van Aken) and asked what was going on with my paper in terms of publication.

I was told that the paper was not due to be published for a while. I then told van Aken of my concerns and asked that the paper be published as soon as possible.

Aken contacted the other editor, confirmed the undertaking to publish in August and that it had been inadvertently broken and then published the paper in the December issue.

It's understood that the Williams plot failed after he was advised that "publication" on the internet does not constitute a valid description as per the ICZN's code and because of his inability to find or lodge a "type" specimen in a Museum.


Then there's this 'peer review' thing we've just heard so much about it. Yes it's sensible to have draft papers checked over by other competent persons. And in my own case that's been standard practice for years.

Oh and perhaps I should also note the following attribute of the journal Monitor during the time I was editor. Every single paper submitted (including my own) was read and corrected by at least four competent herpetologists, namely Brian Barnett, Russell Grant, Peter Comber and Rob Valentic … (oh and myself) but I can't count myself in the case of "proofing" my own material - hence my count of "4".

So it's never been a case of Hoser material somehow avoiding the censors as Wüster et. al try to make out.

Most other supposedly peer reviewed publications only run material past two reviewers so we were ahead on that basis.

And the argument of Peer reviewed versus non-peer reviewed has been done to death in the pages of the ICZN's Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature, which found plenty of arguments for and against such publications while deliberating over the Wells and Wellington matter in the 1980's and early 1990's (refer to Anonymous (1987), published in the ICZN's own journal).

And then almost every Australian herpetologist knows about some of the false and defamatory rubbish that snuck it's way into Daniel Lunney's "Herpetology in Australia" published in 1993.

The material was so bad in fact that the editor, Mr. Lunney took legal advice and published a sizeable retraction of the original lies in a later publication he was editor of.

Ironically front piece of the original publication loudly touted it's alleged virtues "because" it was peer reviewed.

And then again, if peer reviewed papers and comment is really the only way to go as Williams and Wüster et. al. made out in their previous piece and elsewhere, why then did Wüster himself post countless of highly inflammatory and defamatory posts on the Kingsnake lists, thereby ensuring that he was able to peddle his warped "anti" Hoser views and avoid any quality control that peer review would have entailed.

Just some of these are cited here and include:

May 21, 1999 at 07:30:16: Kingsnake dot com

June 22, 2000 at 08:01:22: Kingsnake dot com

January 22, 2001 at 11:28:04: Kingsnake dot com

January 23, 2001 at 15:25:33: Kingsnake dot com

January 24, 2001 at 05:53:29: Kingsnake dot com

Wed, 24 Jan 2001 14:24:39 +0000:

Wed, 24 Jan 2001 17:05:33 +0000:

January 25, 2001 at 03:45:16: Kingsnake dot com

January 26, 2001 at 06:25:52: Kingsnake dot com

January 28, 2001 at 03:59:11: Kingsnake dot com

January 29, 2001 at 15:53:43: Kingsnake dot com

Tue, 30 Jan 2001 16:13:31 +0000:

February 02, 2001 at 04:13:35: Kingsnake dot com

February 03, 2001 at 04:19:28: Kingsnake dot com

Ad nauseum.

And then there's Wüster 's fraud making associate David Williams.

If I were to list all the posts he'd put on the internet making false and baseless allegations and attacks on myself (again in violation of the ICZN's code of ethics) I'd probably fill several issues of this journal!

And bear in mind that a single post by Williams, Wüster et. al. to a "list" goes directly to several hundred recipients!


Then there's David Williams and Wolfgang Wüster's inconsistent statements I find it impossible to reconcile.

Way back in late 1998 Williams put out a post on an internet list stating that he was publishing a piece refuting my Pailsus pailsei description in a "peer-reviewed" publication.

More than three years later we are still waiting for this promised publication.

The reality of course was that Williams had printed another of his all too common lies.

And yes, that's the harsh reality of his claims that I somehow knowingly stole naming rights for the species we now call Pailsus rossignollii.

Williams is lying - and he knows it.

There's much more evidence to support this assertion.

You see in 1998 following my publication of the description of Acanthophis wellsei Ken Aplin sent me a draft of his paper describing the same snake under another name.

That I had within days of the publication, so I knew that Aplin had been bona-fide in his claim that he was also working on the species (without my knowledge).

And like a professional should act, Aplin was effectively comparing notes with me.

It's now several months since Williams, Wüster et. al, made the claim, then retracted it, then made it again, that I somehow stole naming rights for Pailsus rossignollii.

And we have yet to see anything by way of publications, drafts or whatever to support their allegation.

A brief check of the likely and relevant institutions also fails to reveal the lodgement or identification of any type specimens by Williams, Wüster and their co-horts.

For that we can either conclude that the men have again lied about claiming to have been "pipped at the post" in terms of publishing a species description or if you want to pull a long bow, you could assume that these men are so ignorant of the ICZN's rules that they were unaware of the need to have a "name-bearing type specimen" in a public museum before publishing a legal description.

But surely Wüster and his mates can't be that ignorant?


Wüster et. al. claim I have a "deep-seated antagonistic feelings towards the scientific establishment, perhaps as part of the general anti-institutional attitudes Hoser displays in his writings".

Yet there is no evidence to support the assertion.

In fact the opposite seems true.

In all species descriptions published to date, I have consulted with and relied extensively upon the so-called scientific establishment and employees of institutions. Furthermore if I had a deep seated antagonism towards such people I would not be routinely acknowledging their assistance's when it is given.

By way of further example as recently as March/April this year I spent time in the Queensland and Australian Museums looking at several hundred Pseudechis and Pailsus (and other reptiles) and can only describe my relationship with the relevant curators as cordial and further note that it's been this way for over 20 years!

May I humbly suggest that Wüster et. al. would be better off spending their time engaging in similar pursuits rather than wasting everybody's time pursuing a campaign of vilification against myself and others who stumble within their viewfinder.

And if Wüster et. al. want to claim that my 2000 paper "What's in a species name" (Hoser 2000c) is an attack on the staff at the Australian Museum, then they should also think again.

For those who haven't read the article, it's main thrust is complaining about a new practice at the Australian Museum whereby some curators are selling "naming rights" on species at $5,000 a pop with the money to be put towards further research.

I didn't complain about the Museum's intentions or ethics, but rather that if the system became widespread and entrenched it could lead to a whole host of unforseen problems and abuses as listed in the article.

And guess what?

Privately at least the herpetology curators at that very same museum, namely Sadlier and Greer said they agreed with me!

Based on Wüster et. al's perverse logic you could argue that these two are "anti" themselves!


In terms of negative feedback to my papers, it has been mainly confined to those such as Wüster and Williams who are clearly pursuing a wider agenda. Based on the posts to Kingsnake dot com and elsewhere the feedback in my favor has far outweighed the negative.

Comments negative to myself and my papers have been largely confined to the likes of Williams (including his aliases), Wüster, Weigel and Bush, who it is now clear are pursuing their own badly hidden agenda.

Those supporting myself, my taxonomic acts and/or my good name in terms of ethics have included Neil Davie, Pete Brammell, Richard Wells, Bernard Frome, Benjamin Dowse, Klaus Roemer, Scott Eipper, Tim Mensforth, John Fowler, Roy Pails and others.

It is for that reason that David Williams decided to shut down the debate on Kingsnake dot com, John Fowler's Australian Herpetology Online and his own Ozherps list; simply because the posts in my favor were so overwhelming.

That was probably not so much a reflection on me or to my credit, but rather a general dislike of the lies and smears and stupid arguments being peddled by Williams, Wüster, et. al.

At that point I thought the vilification of myself by Williams and Wüster et. al. was over, but I see it has again reared it's ugly head.

Wüster et. al. claim I have an uncritical acceptance of Wells and Wellington taxonomy, including in Hoser (2000b): the python paper.

The statement is a barefaced lie.

By way of example, in Hoser (2000b) I make it clear that I don't recognise Aspidites collaris as cited by Wells and Wellington.

And I have already outlined other differences of opinion in terms of "Cannia weigeli" and "Acanthophis armstrongi".

However it appears that Wells and Wellington are sufficiently mature enough to accept that taxonomists may agree to disagree or have reasoned scientific discussion rather than engage in a major process of vilification.

Or based on Wüster et. al's perverse logic maybe I'm "anti" Wells and Wellington as well?


Ethics and the ICZN code.

It has been violated. And the perpetrators are Wüster et. al.

The code states:

"5. Intemperate language should not be used in any discussion or writing which involves zoological nomenclature, and all debates should be conducted in a courteous and friendly manner."

Based on the innumerable posts on the internet and other materials peddled by Williams and Wüster et. al., the code has been seriously breached in a manner perhaps never seen before.

One of many examples was Wüster 's post on Kingsnake dot com at: January 23, 2001 at 15:25:33.

Or try the posts by Williams on Kingsnake dot com at: January 23, 2001 at 07:09:37, January 24, 2001 at 02:53:06 reposted widely by Williams, or Wed, 24 Jan 2001 20:03:19 +1000 on his own list server which perhaps represents one of the greatest violations of the ICZN's code of ethics ever to appear in print.

The latter of these commenced thus:

"Y'know on second thoughts this list is all too quiet, so I think I'll just

comment on a couple of things in Raymond's post:…"

before he got into yet another of his baseless character assassinations of myself.

When the likes of Neil Davie and others came to my defence, Williams true to his form cut off their access to the lists.


The ending claim by Wüster et. al. that I may somehow drive a wedge between so-called amateurs and professionals is another lie. The lie is proven by themselves in their earlier statement that:

"institutional and non-institutional herpetologists are sometimes artificially segregated into "amateurs" and "professionals", this is an artificial dichotomy which misrepresents what is in reality a continuum, as is illustrated by the list of authors of this article."

Fortunately most of the herpetological community (at all levels) realise this and work together as much as possible. Perhaps the best example of this is seen by own dealings with herpetologists at all levels, with whom I mix freely.

In the case of the museum curators (in this country at least), a mere phone call will usually allow me unfettered access to their vast archives of preserved reptiles and other resources. And this is not just for me, but as far as I can ascertain, it's the same for any other bona-fide researcher. And yes, that's how it should be.

And contrary to what Wüster et. al. may claim, nothing I have said or done has changed this.

As for the question as to whether or not myself and all the various curators and scientists agree on everything, the answer is - not always.

But then again, the scientists don't always agree with each other. That's one of the reasons we have so many different taxonomic arrangements for reptiles … and that's regardless of what I have or haven't published.

To give an illustration of my more recent disagreements with some Australian institutional scientists, I cite some examples:

I opposed the suppression of Varanus gouldii in favour of V. panoptes. Ditto for the suppression of V. keithornei in favour of V. teriae. That put me on the outer in terms of a number of scientists here in Australia … but I wasn't alone. Many eminent scientists were on my side.

The ICZN ruled against my submissions in one matter and for them in the other.

And yes, we are all still talking to one another. You see we played the issue, not the person.

By way of example, Hal Cogger and I were on opposite sides in the above mentioned battles, but after it was all over, both him and I were mature enough to have a meal together and talk about our next herpetological ventures.

There was none of this Williams/Wüster style fraud going on whereby papers were being concocted and altered to falsely accuse people of crimes that hadn't been committed, or idiot posts to herpetological lists accusing people of plotting to steal naming rights for three pythons that had long since been named.


So having waded through just some of the lies and the muck, the real picture is really quite simple.

Wüster et. al.'s real grievance is that do not want to use a name like "Pailsus rossignollii Hoser" for fear that it's widespread use and acceptance may give me some sort of recognition and credibility that they'd rather I didn't have.

In short, they don't want to see anyone use any "Hoser names".

It's that simple.

Hence their improperly trying to place doubt on what are in effect validly named taxa.

They won't petition the ICZN on the matter as they know their case is useless and thus they take their battle to the inappropriate trenches, such as this journal, which shouldn't have published Wüster et. al's tripe in the first place.

For my own part, I shall say that herpetology is about working together, not peddling lies and smearing the innocent.

And on that note I hope that Wüster et. al. pack their bags and take up a profession or hobby like target shooting instead! The rest of us would be better off.


Anonymous 1987. ‘Case 2531. Three works by Richard W. Wells and C. Ross Wellington: proposed suppression for nomenclatural purposes’, (allegedly written by the unnamed "President of the Australian Society of Herpetologists"), Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 44(2):116-121.

Aplin, K. P. and Donnellan S. C. 1999. ‘An extended description of the Pilbara Death Adder, Acanthophis wellsi Hoser (Serpentes: Elapidae), with notes on the Desert Death Adder, A. pyrrhus Boulenger, and identification of a possible hybrid zone’, Records of the Western Australian Museum 19: 277-298.

Brammell, P. 2001a. ‘Re nomenclature - Fry and Wüster avoiding the obvious’, posting on on January 30, 2001 at 01:39:46:

Brammell, P. 2001b. ‘ Hoser’s taxonomy is correct and a plea for sensibility’, posting to venomous snake forum dated January 30, 2001 at 02:04:45:

Brammell, P. 2001c. ‘Williams/Starkey paper fraudulently altered’, Posting to venomous snake forum dated January 30, 2001 at 02:41:21:

Brammell, P. 2001d. ‘In defence of Hoser and a plea for reason’, posting on the elapidae forum on February 01, 2001 at 05:48:08:

Cogger, H. G. et. al. 1983. Zoological Catalogue of Australia (1) Amphibia and Reptilia, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, ACT, Australia. 319 pp.

Cogger, et. al. 1993. Action Plan for Australia's Reptiles, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

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Eipper, S. 2001a. Posting on elapidae forum on July 02, 2001 at 21:22:41.

Eipper, S. 2001b. Posting on elapidae forum on July 03, 2001 at 07:04:23.

Eipper, S. 2001c. Posting on elapidae forum on July 03, 2001 at 07:15:09.

Frome, B. 2001a. ‘Taxonomic and scientific fraud by David Williams’, Posting on on January 29, 2001 at 20:14:05:

Frome, B. 2001b. ‘The reason why David Williams committed the fraud’, Posting on on January 29, 2001 at 20:44:51:

Greer, A. E. 1997. The Biology and Evolution of Australian Snakes, Surrey Beatty and Sons Pty Limited, Chipping Norton, NSW, 2170, Australia.370 pp.

Harvey, M.B., D.G. Barker, L.K. Ammerman and Chippendale, P.T. 2000. 'Systematics of pythons of the Morelia amethistina complex (Serpentes: Boidae) with the description of three new species.' Herpetological Monographs 14: 139-185.

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Hoser, R. T. 1995. The Hoser Files - The Fight Against Entrenched Official Corruption, Kotabi Publishing, Doncaster, Victoria, Australia. 322 pp.

Hoser, R. T. 1996. Smuggled-2: Wildlife trafficking, crime and corruption in Australia, Kotabi Publishing, Doncaster, Victoria, Australia. 280 pp.

Hoser, R. T. 1998a. ‘Death adders (genus Acanthophis): an overview, including descriptions of five new species and one subspecies’, Monitor 9(2): Cover, 20-30, 33-41.

Hoser, R. T. 1998b. ‘A New Snake From Queensland, Australia (Serpentes: Elapidae)’, Monitor - Journal of the Victorian Herpetological Society, 10 (1):Cover, 5-9, 31.

Hoser, R. T. 1999a. ‘Comments on comments on the Genus Pailsus Hoser 1998’, Monitor - Journal of the Victorian Herpetological Society, 10 (2/3):120-122.

Hoser, R. T. 1999b. Victoria Police Corruption, Kotabi Publishing, Doncaster, Victoria, Australia. 736 pp.

Hoser, R. T. 1999c. Victoria Police Corruption-2, Kotabi Publishing, Doncaster, Victoria, Australia. 736 pp.

Hoser, R. 2000a. ‘A new species of snake (Serpentes: Elapidae) from Irian Jaya’, Litteratura Serpentium 20(6): 178-186.

Hoser, R. 2000b. ‘A revision of the Australasian pythons’, Ophidia Review 1(1): 7-27.

Hoser, R. 2000c. ‘What’s in a species name?, Crocodilian - Newsletter of the Victorian Association of Amateur Herpetologists 2: 9-10.

Hoser, R. 2000d. Taxi: Indecent Exposures, Kotabi Publishing, Doncaster, Victoria, 3108, Australia:532 pp.

Hoser, R. 2000e. Taxi - 2: More Indecent Exposures, Kotabi Publishing, Doncaster, Victoria, 3108, Australia:516 pp.

Hughett, P. 2001a. Internet site at: with a photo and text naming Pailsus rossignollii.

Hughett, P. 2001b. Internet site at: with a photo and text naming Pailsus rossignollii.

Hughett, P. 2001c. 27 postings on the, elapidae forum, dated between 15 June and 13 July 2001.

Kluge, A.G. 1993. 'Aspidites and the phylogeny of Pythonine snakes'. Records of the Australian Museum, Suppl. 19, pp. 1-77.

Paull, J. 2001. Posting on the academic forum dated February 01, 2001 at 21:24:36:

Shea, G. 1991. E-mail to Raymond Hoser, sent at: 05 Feb 2001, 12:13:40 +1100: 1p.

Shea, G., Weigel, J., Harwood, A., Floriani, H. and Hemsley, C. 1988. ‘Notes on the herpetofauna of Mitchell Plateau, Western Australia. Results of the 1987 Australian Herpetological Society Field Trip to the Kimberleys’, Herpetofauna 18(1): 9-20.

Smith, L. A. 1981, ‘A revision of the genera Aspidites and Python (Serpentes:Boidae) in Western Australia’, Records of the Western Australian Museum 9(2):211-226.

Storr, G. M., Smith, L. A. and Johnstone, R. E. 1986. Snakes of Western Australia. Western Australian Museum, Perth, WA.

Sutherland, S. K. 1999. ‘Concern over the choice of anti-venom for "false king brown snake" bites and a plea for a name change’, Medical Journal of Australia 170:187.

Uetz, P. 1998-2001. The EMBL Reptile database, at: (Statement at foot of page says the webpage was created on 8 December 1998 - still active and unchanged as of: 17 July 2001) and other relevant sites on the same server (as cited in the paper above) including:[REPTILIA-Species:’Acanthophis_SP_crotalusei’],[REPTILIA-Species:’Acanthophis_SP_barnetti’], etc.

van Aken, G. 2001a E-mail message to Raymond Hoser, dated 6 May 2001 16:06:35 +0200.

van Aken, G. 2001b E-mail message to Raymond Hoser, dated 17 May 2001 11:40:48 +0200

Wells, R. W. and Wellington, C. R. 1983. A synopsis of the class Reptilia in Australia’, Australian Journal of Herpetology, 1 (3-4):73-129.

Wells, R. W. and Wellington, C. R. 1985a. ‘A classification of the Amphibia and Reptilia of Australia’, Australian Journal of Herpetology, Supplementary Series, (1):1-61.

Wells, R. W. and Wellington, C. R. 1985b. ‘A synopsis of the Amphibia and Reptilia of New Zealand’, Australian Journal of Herpetology, Supplementary Series, (1):62-64.

Wells, R.W. and Wellington C.R. 1987. ‘A new species of proteroglyphous snake (Serpentes: Oxyuranidae) from Australia’, Australian Herpetologist 503: 1-8.

Weigel, J. 2001a. E-mail posting to the list server at: 1 Feb 2001 11:20:02 +1100:1 p.

Weigel, J. 2001b. E-mail posting to the list server at: 3 Feb 2001 at 19:29:43 +1100: 1 p.

Weigel, J. 2001c. E-mail posting to the list server at: 16 Jul 2001 09:24:14 -0000

Williams, D. J. 1998. Posting on Internet Venom and Toxin Discussion Group, November 1:4 pp. (essentially similar to Williams, D. J. and Starkey, B. A. (1999) version 1).

Williams, D. J. 1999a. Posting on Internet Venom and Toxin Discussion Group, March 6:1 p.

Williams, D. J. 1999b. Posting on Internet Venom and Toxin Discussion Group, March 6:1 p.

Williams, D. J. 2001a. Posting on forum dated 23 January 2001, 07:09:37.

Williams, D. J. 2001b. Posting on forum dated January 24, 2001 at 02:53:06 and spammed widely.

Williams, D. J. 2001c. Posting on list server on 24 Jan 2001 20:03:19 +1000

Williams, D. J. 2001d. Posting on forum dated May 05, 2001 at 08:54:14:

Williams, D. J. 2001e. E-mail message spammed to various places including and dated 17 May 2001 07:29:38 -0700 (PDT)

Williams, D. J. 2001f. E-mail message spammed to various places including on 17 May 2001 15:18:22 -0700 (PDT)

Williams, D. J. 2001g. E-mail message spammed to various places including and dated 17 May 2001 15:21:55 -0700 (PDT)

Williams, D. J. 2001h. E-mail message spammed to various places including on 17 May 2001 15:27:15 -0700 (PDT)

Williams, D. J. 2001j. Six postings on elapidae forum dated, June 28, 2001 at 07:18:58:, June 29, 2001 at 17:42:41:, June 30, 2001 at 06:32:16:, July 02, 2001 at 04:49:19:, July 02, 2001 at 05:00:05:, and July 03, 2001 at 06:28:42:

Williams, D. J. 2001j. Twenty two other separate postings spammed by David Williams on the elapidae forum and and between 22 January, 2001 at 08:48:29: and January 27, 2001 at 21:13:54:

Williams, D. J. 2001k. Postings on on June 28, 2001 at 07:18:58:, and June 29, 2001 at 17:42:41:,

Williams, D. J. and Starkey, B. A. 1999. ‘Comments on the Genus Pailsus (Hoser, 1998)’, Undated document from the internet site pp (note the url) - "Version 1" dated 1 November 1998 (date only at foot of document).

Williams, D. J. and Starkey, B. A. 1999 ‘Comments on the Genus Pailsus (Hoser, 1998)’, Undated document from the internet site " at: (note the url) and later "The Venomous Snake Forum" January 29, 2001 at 01:50:13: pp. "Version 2". (Actually published in this altered form in January 2001)

Williams, D. J. and Starkey, B. A. 1999. ‘Comments on the Genus Pailsus (Hoser, 1998)’, Undated document from the internet site "The Venomous Snake Forum" January 30, 2001 at 02:12:58:5 at: (note the url) - Version 3. (Actually published in this altered form in January 2001)

Wilson, S. K. and Knowles, D. G. 1988. Australia’s Reptiles: A Photographic Reference to the Terrestrial Reptiles of Australia. Collins Publishers, Sydney, NSW, Australia. 447 pp.

Worrell, E. 1972. Dangerous snakes of Australia and New Guinea, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, Australia. 65 pp.

Wüster, W. 1999. Posting on dated May 21, 1999 at 07:30:16:

Wüster, W. 2000. Posting on dated June 22, 2000 at 08:01:22:

Wüster, W. 2001a. Posting on dated January 22, 2001 at 11:28:04:

Wüster, W. 2001b. Posting on the dated January 22, 2001 at 11:29:07:

Wüster, W. 2001c. Posting on dated January 23, 2001 at 15:25:33:

Wüster, W. 2001d. Posting on dated January 24, 2001 at 05:53:29:

Wüster, W. 2001e. Posting on dated Wed, 24 Jan 2001 14:24:39 +0000:

Wüster, W. 2001f. Posting on dated Wed, 24 Jan 2001 17:05:33 +0000:

Wüster, W. 2001g. Posting on dated January 25, 2001 at 03:45:16:

Wüster, W. 2001h. Posting on dated January 26, 2001 at 06:25:52:

Wüster, W. 2001i. Posting on dated January 28, 2001 at 03:59:11:

Wüster, W. 2001j. Posting on dated January 29, 2001 at 15:53:43:

Wüster, W. 2001k. Posting on dated Tue, 30 Jan 2001 16:13:31 +0000:

Wüster, W. 2001l. Posting on dated February 02, 2001 at 04:13:35:

Wüster, W. 2001m. Posting on dated February 03, 2001 at 04:19:28:

Wüster, W. 2001n. Posting on dated May 06, 2001 at 05:53:06:

Wüster, W. 2001o. Spam posting to several hundred recipients, including:, dated 13 May 2001 12:43:34 +0100

Wüster, W. 2001p. Spam posting to several hundred recipients, including:, dated 14 May 2001 09:46:34 +0100

Wüster, W. 2001q. Posting to on 19 May 2001 09:18:20 +0930

Wüster, W. 2001r. Posting on dated June 22, 2001 at 03:32:35:

Wüster, W. 2001s. Posting on dated June 28, 2001 at 03:49:56:

Wüster, W. 2001t. Posting on dated June 29, 2001 at 04:45:21:

Wüster, W. 2001u. Posting on dated June 30, 2001 at 07:07:16:

Wüster, W. 2001v. Posting on dated June 30, 2001 at 07:17:00:

Wüster, W. 2001w. Posting on dated July 01, 2001 at 05:51:09:

Wüster, W. 2001x. Posting on dated July 02, 2001 at 05:00:53:

Wüster, W. 2001y. Posting on dated July 13, 2001 at 07:53:49:

Wüster, W. 2001z. Numerous and sometimes defamatory postings on the internet server and/or elsewhere re "Hoser names", dated June/July 2001.

Wüster et. al. 2001. ‘Taxonomic contributions in the Amateur Literature: Comments on recent descriptions of new genera and species by Raymond Hoser’, Litteratura Serpentium 21(3):67-79, 79-91.


1/ Relevant papers by Hoser can also be downloaded from the internet at:

2/ Relevant references cited above in relation to Williams and Wüster and their campaign against this author and the lies peddled, including those that were directly referred to in the paper above have been cut back to the barest minimum and include only those directly referred to - not others that said much the same thing.

4/ All posts cited above (and others) were archived by this author in full for citation and reference purposes and for the purpose of being to indelibly identify the lies and inconsistent statements by Wüster and Williams. However over time, the number of posts was far too great for even this author to be able to save all of them.

5/ The original "paper" now known as "Williams and Starkey version 1", was actually posted by David Williams on the internet in mid November 1998, but was originally erroneously cited by this author in Hoser (1999a) and others as Williams and Starkey 1999 (which in turn is the original date of download from the internet by this author).

The two fraudulently altered versions first appeared on 29 and 30 January 2001 (which are the dates Williams first physically posted them).

FINAL NOTE: The editor of Litteratura Serpentium (Gijs van Aken) refused to publish this response - but failed to give any proper reason for doing so. The major points of the Wüster and Williams lies and the fraud committed re the morphing paper are covered in another paper published elsewhere in July 2001.

Download ALL the relevant Williams, Wuster and other posts through the three self-executing word file archives below:
First file archive (1 mb).

Second file archive (.5 mb).

Third file archive (.2 mb).

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