Donald C.Taphorn B.

Biologist, Ichthyologist and Taxonomist

Born on September 8,1951 in Belleville, Illinois, USA
BAP Expert Donald C. Taphorn B.

Donald C. Taphorn B. was born on September 8, 1951 in Belleville, Illinois, USA. During his youth he was an avid tropical fish aquarist, and was also interested in Boy Scout activities, especially camping, snorkeling and SCUBA diving.

He obtained a Bachelor in Science degree (cum laude) in 1972, from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, and won the Outstanding Senior Award from the Biology Department. While at SIUE was guided by Dr. J. E. Thomerson, who got him interested in South American tropical fish taxonomy, and especially the annual killifishes of the Rivulidae family.

Donald C. Taphorn B.  enrolled in the Zoology Department of the University of Florida at Gainesville to study fish taxonomy with Dr. Carter Gilbert, and obtained a Masters Degree in 1976, based on a taxonomic revision of the genera Austrofundulus and Rachovia (Rivulidae).

Next he moved to Venezuela, to work as a researcher for the Venezuelan ministry of the environment in a biological control project that attempted to use fish as predators to control malaria vectors (Anopheles mosquitoes). This was followed by a year teaching systematic ichthyology at the University of Zulia in Maracaibo, Venezuela.

In 1978, he moved to Guanare, Portuguesa State Venezuela to take a position at the newly founded UNELLEZ (the University of the Western Llanos) where he became a faculty member of the Environmental Engineering Department. There he founded a Natural History Museum, and the Fish Collection of which he remains curator. The Fish Collection is one of the finest in South America, fully computerized with almost 50,000 catalogued lots. Besides his own work, he has promoted research in Venezuelan aquatic communities and fished by inviting scientists to work at UNELLEZ. Drs. Kirk Winemiller, Alex Flecker, Leo Nico, Stewart Reid all did their original dissertation research in Guanare, and now have on to foster further research in the area by their own students. Other scientists such as Dr. Larry Page, have also visited Guanare and encouraged students to do research there.

In 1990 he obtained a PhD from the University of Florida based on a annotated catalog of the Characiform fishes of the Apure River drainage in Venezuela. He has published over 100 scientific papers, mostly in the field of taxonomy of freshwater Venezuelan fishes, as well as the impact of man’s activities on aquatic ecosystems.

Prof. Donald C. Taphorn B. retired in 2007 and is now living in the US, but remains active in ichthyology.

Expert in the following geographical regions:
  • South America
Expert in the following fish groups:
  • Characiformes: Characidae (Stevardiinae), Crenuchidae, Lebiasinidae, Parodontidae
  • Siluriformes: Aspredinidae, Pseudopimelodidae, Loricariidae
  • Cyprinodontiformes: Poeciliidae, Rivulidae
  • Perciformes: Cichlidae, Centrarchidae