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Department of Vertebrate Zoology

Division of Amphibians & Reptiles

Phyllomedusa vaillantii
Phyllomedusa vaillantii Ecuador, Pastaza Province. Photographed by William W. Lamar
bar Rayna Bell
    Rayna Bell
    Research Zoologist

  • Phone: (202) 633-6194
  • Fax: (202) 633-0182
  • E-mail:

  • Mailing Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    PO Box 37012, MRC 162
    Washington, DC 20013-7012

  • Shipping Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    National Museum of Natural History
    10th and Constitution Ave, NW
    Washington, DC 20560-0162


Related Links

Complete List of Rayna's Publications and Downloadable PDFs
Bell Lab Website


B.S. (Integrative Biology), University of California at Berkeley, 2007.
Ph.D. (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology), Cornell University, 2014.

Research Interests

Research Interests and Responsibilities: Ecology and evolution of amphibians and reptiles with an emphasis on island biogeography, hybrid zones, and coloration phenotypes.

Recent Publications

Gilbert, Cassandra M. and Bell, Rayna C. 2018. Evolution of advertisement calls in an island radiation of African reed frogs. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 123(1): 1-11. doi:10.1093/biolinnean/blx129

Willis, Amy and Bell, Rayna C. 2017. Uncertainty in Phylogenetic Tree Estimates. Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics, : 1-11. doi:10.1080/10618600.2017.1391697

Bell, Rayna C., Parra, Juan L., Badjedjea, Gabriel, Barej, Michael F., Blackburn, David C., Burger, Marius, Channing, Alan, Dehling, J. M., Greenbaum, Eli, Gvozdík, Václav, Kielgast, Jos, Kusamba, Chifundera, Lötters, Stefan, McLaughlin, Patrick J., Nagy, Zoltán T., Rödel, Mark-Oliver, Portik, Daniel M., Stuart, Bryan L., Van, Der Wal, Zassi-Boulou, Ange and Zamudio, Kelly R. 2017. Idiosyncratic responses to climate-driven forest fragmentation and marine incursions in reed frogs from Central Africa and the Gulf of Guinea Islands. Molecular ecology, 26(19): 5223-5244. doi:10.1111/mec.14260

Bell, Rayna C., Webster, Grant N. and Whiting, Martin J. 2017. Breeding biology and the evolution of dynamic sexual dichromatism in frogs. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 30(12): 2104-2115. doi:10.1111/jeb.13170

Hydeman, Marina E., Longo, Ana V., Velo-Antón, Guillermo, Rodriguez, David, Zamudio, Kelly R. and Bell, Rayna C. 2017. Prevalence and genetic diversity of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Central African island and continental amphibian communities. Ecology and Evolution, 7(19): 7729-7738. doi:10.1002/ece3.3309

Fritch, Ethan J., Bell, Rayna C., Stuart, Bryan L. and Lentz, Thomas B. 2017. Status of Ranavirus in Anurans of Two National Parks in Gabon. Herpetological Review, 48(3): 561-563.

Zamudio, Kelly R., Bell, Rayna C. and Mason, Nicholas A. 2016. Phenotypes in phylogeography: Species’ traits, environmental variation, and vertebrate diversification. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(29): 8041-8048. doi:10.1073/pnas.1602237113

Bell, Rayna C. 2016. A New Species of Hyperolius (Amphibia: Hyperoliidae) from Príncipe Island, Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe. Herpetologica, 72(4): 343-351. doi:10.1655/Herpetologica-D-16-00008.1

Zamudio, Kelly R., Bell, Rayna C., Nali, Renato C., Haddad, Célio F. B. and Prado, Cynthia P. A. 2016. Polyandry, Predation, and the Evolution of Frog Reproductive Modes. American Naturalist, 188: S41-S61. doi:10.1086/687547

Bell, Rayna C. and Scheinberg, Lauren A. 2016. Hyperolius molleri (Moller's Reed Frog) and Phrynobatrachus dispar (Peters' River Frog). Heterospecific amplexus. Herpetological Review, 47(1): 109

Bell, Rayna C., Drewes, Robert C., Channing, Alan, Gvoždík, Václav, Kielgast, Jos, Lötters, Stefan, Stuart, Bryan L. and Zamudio, Kelly R. 2015. Overseas dispersal of Hyperolius reed frogs from Central Africa to the oceanic islands of São Tomé and Príncipe. Journal of Biogeography, 42(1): 65-75. doi:10.1111/jbi.12412

Bell, Rayna C., Drewes, Robert C. and Zamudio, Kelly R. 2015. Reed frog diversification in the Gulf of Guinea: Overseas dispersal, the progression rule, and speciation. Evolution, 69(4): 904-915. doi:10.1111/evo.12623

Barej, Michael F., Rödel, Mark-Oliver, Loader, Simon P., Menegon, Michele, Gonwouo, Nono L., Penner, Johannes, Gvoždík, Václav, Günther, Rainer, Bell, Rayna C., Nagel, Peter and Schmitz, Andreas 2014. Light shines through the spindrift – Phylogeny of African torrent frogs (Amphibia, Anura, Petropedetidae). Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 71: 261-273. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2013.11.001

Titus, Valorie R., Bell, Rayna C., Becker, C. G. and Zamudio, Kelly R. 2014. Connectivity and gene flow among Eastern Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) populations in highly modified anthropogenic landscapes. Conservation Genetics, 15(6): 1447-1462. doi:10.1007/s10592-014-0629-5

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