There are thousands of species of freshwater and marine fish, and John Ernest “Jack” Randall, Jr described a heckuva lot of them. Even if you don’t know the name or never knew him, the man is responsible for discovering and describing so many different species that there’s a good chance you’ve heard of fish that bear his name.
Randall’s goby, Randall’s anthias, Randall’s pistol shrimp, tilefish, basslet, assessor, fairy wrasse, there are so many species named after this great fish scientist that you can almost pick one a group at random and chances are, there’s a species with his name on it. Keep in mind that Ichthyologists don’t name fish after themselves, but their colleagues can and the laundry list of randalli species is incredibly long – the barberfish from the eastern pacific ocean belongs to the genus Johnrandallia!
The homage to Jack Randall reflects his long and storied career in the world of marine fish taxonomy, and his work has served as a beacon and an inspiration to many generations of aspiring ichthyologists. We never met Dr. Randall but read and referenced so many of his books, and even countless more books written by authors who reference his work.
This month we may have lost Dr. Randall the man, but his legacy will live on in the world of fish lovers and scientists for decades or more. A memorial page has been erected in his memory by many of his friends and all are invited to share their memories and thoughts of the man who had one of the most outsized influence on the world of marine fish that it’s unlikely there will be another one like him.