Department of Herpetology, American Museum of Natural History

Data Center Description
Herpetology at the American Museum of Natural History has its
roots in the Golden Age of global expeditionary biology and
continues as one of the world's foremost centers of
herpetological research.

The American Museum's collection of amphibians and reptiles
ranks among the world's five largest herpetological
collections. The separately catalogued collections of amphibians
and reptiles total more than 315,500 specimens, of which more
than 10,300 have more than one type of preparation.

The scope of the Herpetology collection is global. Aside from
the United States, areas especially well represented include
Mexico, Panama, much of South America, Africa, Pakistan, China,
New Guinea, Australia, and the Pacific Islands.

The collection covers a very broad taxonomic range. All living
orders and families of the Amphibia and Reptilia are
represented, as are about 80% of the genera. The collection
contains over 6800 species representing roughly 55% of the
world's described herpetofauna. On average, 76 species names per
year (range 20-171) have been added to the Herpetology files
over the past 40 years, with approximately 2970 species or 25%
of the estimated 12,000 world's total amphibians and reptiles
having been added in a little over a quarter century.

The holdings of the Herpetology collection are computerized;
however, inventorying the collection and proofing the database
are on-going processes.

The Herpetology collection may be thought of as an ever-growing
library of the world's amphibian and reptile faunas. It is an
irreplaceable international resource that deserves the best of


[Summary provided by the Department of Herpetology, American
Museum of Natural History.]