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Joe Collins, Kansas Herpetologist And Former Instructor At The University Of Kansas Dies

Author of the Peterson Field Guide: "Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America" was 72.

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Kansas Herpetologist Joe Collins, a legend in the herping world for many years, has died. Collins, an advocate for herps who had been obsessed with them for more than 60 years, was 72. He was on his annual five week animal expedition in Florida when he died of a heart attack.

Collins founded the Center for North American Herpetology and was an instructor at the University of Kansas. He was the co-author of the Peterson Field Guide: "Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America," considered by many to be the bible of the hobby. According to a story in the Wichita Eagle, Collins enjoyed educating those who shared an interest in reptiles and amphibians, from the youngest child carrying a reptile that Collins would identify to those working on their dissertation in college.


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Travis W. Taggart, a colleague of Collins and curator of herpetology at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History at Fort Hays State University told the Wichita Eagle that Collins had an eye for those who were interested in herpetology and excelled in nurturing their interest in reptiles and amphibians. Taggart said going forward in his own career that he would look at every project and say, "What would Joe do?" A memorial service will be held in Lawrence, Kansas.

A slideshow of his life can be found on the Kansas.com website here