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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Department of Vertebrate Zoology

Division of Amphibians & Reptiles

Hyalinobatrachium pellucidum
Hyalinobatrachium pellucidum Ecuador, Napo Province. Photographed by Roy McDiarmid
Opheodrys aestivus
Cleared and stained Opheodrys aestivus North Carolina. Photographed by Steve Gotte.

The National Collections are maintained as a resource to promote herpetological research.  Scientists and students from all over the world visit the department each year to conduct research in biogeography, systematics, taxonomy, biodiversity, genetics, and ecology of amphibians and reptiles. 

The collection management staff performs a variety of collection management activities that support research. Some of these activities include accessioning and cataloging new collections, prepping specimens, maintaining the alcohol levels of alcoholic stored specimen, pest management, and loaning specimens worldwide to scientists unable to visit the museum.


The curators of the Division of Amphibians and Reptiles are research scientists. Some examples of research currently being done by curators in the division include:

  • Systematics of the frog genus Leptodactylus
  • Biology of amphibian larvae
  • Skeletochronology of sea turtles
  • Systematics of herpetofauna of Oceana and Burma
  • Biodiversity of neotropical herpetofauna
  • Systematics and evolutionary biology of iguanian lizards

Some collections management staff also do research in addition to their collections duties, for example:  

  • Biodiversity of herpetofauna of Guyana
  • Taxonomy and phylogenetic systematics of lower vertebrates
  • Genetic variation in salamanders
  • Systematics of blind snakes

To see publications by a staff member of the Division of Amphibians & Reptiles, please visit his or her individual Staff page.





(rev. Sep 2007)

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