Robert Charles Wroughton (15 August 1849, in Naseerabad – 15 August 1921) was an officer in the Indian Forest Service from 10 December 1871 to 1904.
He was a member of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and was interested in Hymenoptera, particularly ants and then later took an interest in scorpions due to his interaction with Reginald Innes Pocock.
His major work was however on the mammals of India and after his retirement in 1904, became a regular worker at the Natural History Museum in London. He initially took an interest in African mammals and there was little material from India. He persuaded his friends in India to collect specimens and this led to a collaborative mammal survey in 1911. Interest in small mammals was also raised by work on plague particularly due to the work of Captain Glen Liston who delivered a special address to the members of the BNHS. Collectors for the small mammal survey included C. A. Crump (Khandesh, Darjeeling), Sir Ernest Hotson (Baluchistan), R. Shunkara Narayan Pillay (Travancore), J. M. D. Mackenzie (Burma), Captain Philip Gosse (Poona, Nilgiris), S. H. Prater (Satara), Charles McCann and others and the survey went on until 1923. It is believed to be the first collaborative biodiversity study in the world. The project accumulated 50,000 specimens over 12 years, especially of the smaller mammals and the information was published in 47 papers. Wroughton was also helped by his brother-in-law T. B. Fry who continued to work after his death in 1921. Several new species were discovered in the process.
Numerous species are named after him including
Wroughton’s Free-tailed Bat (Otomops wroughtoni)
Many ant species: (Aenictus wroughtonii, Camponotus wroughtonii, Cardiocondyla wroughtonii, Carebara wroughtonii, Chronoxenus wroughtonii, Crematogaster wroughtonii, Hypoponera confinis wroughtonii, Lepisiota rothneyi wroughtonii, Monomorium wroughtoni, Monomorium wroughtonianum, Pheidole wroughtonii, Platythrea wroughtonii, Polyrhachis wroughtonii, Rhoptromyrmex wroughtonii, Tapinoma wroughtonii, Temnothorax wroughtonii)
Wroughton R C 1912a. Bombay Natural History Society’s Mammal Survey of India: Report 1. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 21(2):392-410.
Wroughton R C 1912b. Bombay Natural History Society’s Mammal Survey of India: Report 2. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 21(3):820-825.
Wroughton R C 1912c. Bombay Natural History Society’s Mammal Survey of India: Report 3. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 21