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 care.