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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 Roy McDiarmid
    Roy Wallace McDiarmid
    USGS Research Zoologist, Curator Emeritus
    SI Adjunct Scientist

  • Phone: (202) 633-0731
  • Fax: (202) 357-1932
  • E-mail:

  • Mailing Address:
    USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
    Biological Survey Unit
    National Museum of Natural History
    PO Box 37012, MRC 111
    Washington, DC 20013-7012

  • Shipping Address:
    USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
    Biological Survey Unit -- Rm 378
    National Museum of Natural History
    10th and Constitution Ave NW
    Washington, DC 20560-0111

Related Links

Complete List of Roy's Publications and Downloadable PDFs
USGS Staff Profile
USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center


B.A., Zoology, University of Southern California (1961)
M.S., Biology, University of Southern California (1966)
Ph.D., Biological Sciences, University of Southern California (1969)

Research Interests

Roy McDiarmid has spent most of his research career working with the systematics, behavior, ecology, and biogeography of amphibians and reptiles in the Neotropics and has published more than 100 scientific papers and four books. His early work focused on the herpetofauna of dry forests in western Mexico, and he spent considerable time in that country, most recently with colleagues from Museo de Zoologia, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, working on new species of frogs and tadpoles of Mexican amphibians. He was introduced to wet forest habitats through the Organization for Tropical Studies program in Costa Rica in 1966 and since then has done most of his field research in the tropics. He organized and taught several courses in the OTS program in the late 60's and early 70's, and after a short time at the University of Chicago, he moved to Tampa and joined the faculty at the University of South Florida. He taught courses and directed graduate students from 1968-1978 in Florida and worked primarily on the ecology of Florida species of amphibians and reptiles. While in Florida he served as chair of a subcommittee of the Florida Committee on Rare and Endangered Plants and Animals and edited a volume on the Endangered and Threatened Amphibians and Reptiles of Florida. During this time he also began working in the South American tropics. He visited Ecuador in 1976 to help establish a program in tropical ecology for the University of South Florida and spent nearly six months in that country after coming to Washington in 1978. Since coming to the National Museum of Natural History, he has focused his research on understanding the diversity of amphibian and reptile species in tropical habitats and spent many months in the field in Peru, Ecuador, and Venezuela. In the museum, Roy serves as curator of the North American portions of the collections of amphibians and reptiles and continues his research, writing, and exploration.

Recent Publications

Luna, Maria Celeste, Mcdiarmid, Roy W. and Faivovich, Julian 2018. From erotic excrescences to pheromone shots: structure and diversity of nuptial pads in anurans. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 124(3): 403-446. doi:10.1093/biolinnean/bly048

Godley, J. S., Halstead, Brian J. and McDiarmid, Roy W. 2017. Ecology of the Eastern Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula) at Rainey Slough, Florida: A Vanished Eden. Herpetological Monographs, 31(1): 47-68. doi:10.1655/HERPMONOGRAPHS-D-16-00006.1

Bonett, Ronald M., Boundy, Jeff, Burbrink, Frank T., Crother, Brian I., de Queiroz, Kevin, Frost, Darrel R., Highton, Richard, Iverson, John B., Jockusch, Elizabeth L., Kraus, Fred, Krysko, Kenneth L., Leaché, Adam D., Moriarty Lemmon, Emily, McDiarmid, Roy W., Mendelson III, Joseph R., Meylan, Peter A., Reeder, Tod W., Ruane, Sara and Seidel, Michael E. 2017. Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles North of Mexico, with Comments Regarding Confidence in Our Understanding Topeka, Kansas: Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. (; ) 102 pages.

Delia, J., Bravo-Valencia, L. and McDiarmid, Roy W. 2017. Notes on paternal behavior in Hyalinobatrachium glassfrogs (Anura: Centrolenidae). Phyllomedusa - Journal of Herpetology, 16(1): 101-107. doi:10.11606/issn.2316-9079.v16i1p101-107

Frost, D. R., Lemmon, E. M., McDiarmid, Roy W. and Mendelson III, J. R. 2017. Anura - Frogs. In: Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. 8th Edition. : Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles,() pp.2-17.

Trauth, S. E., Siegel, D. S., Godley, J. S., Adcock, Z. C. and McDiarmid, Roy W. 2017. Testicular histology reveals a novel type of spermatogenesis in Pseudobranchus axanthus (Caudata: Sirenidae). Copeia, 105(4): 670-677.

Savage, J. M. and McDiarmid, Roy W. 2017. The Herpetological Contributions of Giorgio Jan (1791-1866) : . (; ) 926 pages.

Rhodin, Anders G. J., Kaiser, Hinrich, van Dijk, Peter Paul, Wüster, Wolfgang, O’Shea, Mark, Archer, Michael, Auliya, Mark, Boitani, Luigi, Bour, Roger, Clausnitzer, Viola, Contreras-MacBeath, Topiltzin, Crother, Brian I., Daza, Juan M., Driscoll, Carlos A., Flores-Villela, Oscar, Frazier, Jack, Fritz, Uwe, Gardner, Alfred L., Gascon, Claude, Georges, Arthur, Glaw, Frank, Grazziotin, Felipe G., Groves, Colin P., Haszprunar, Gerhard, Havaš, Peter, et al 2015. Comment on Spracklandus Hoser, 2009 (Reptilia, Serpentes, ELAPIDAE): request for confirmation of availability of the generic name and for the nomenclatural validation of the journal in which it was published (Case 3601; BZN 70:234–237; 71:30–38; 133-135,181-182 ,252-253). The Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature, 72(1).

Altig, Ronald and McDiarmid, Roy W. 2015. Handbook of larval amphibians of the United States and Canada Ithaca: Cornell University Press. (; ) 345 pages.

Rocha, L. A., Aleixo, A., Allen, G., Almeda, F., Baldwin, Carole C., Barclay, M. V. L., Bates, J. M., Bauer, A. M., Benzoni, F., Berns, C. M., Berumen, M. L., Blackburn, D. C., Blum, S., Bolanos, F., Bowie, R. C. K., Britz, R., Brown, R. M., Cadena, C. D., Carpenter, K., Ceriaco, L. M., Chakrabarty, P., Chaves, G., Choat, J. H., Clements, K. D., Collette, Bruce B., et al 2014. Specimen collection: An essential tool. Science, 344(6186): 814-815. doi:10.1126/science.344.6186.814

Muletz, Carly, Caruso, Nicholas M., Fleischer, Robert C., McDiarmid, Roy W. and Lips, Karen R. 2014. Unexpected Rarity of the Pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Appalachian Plethodon Salamanders: 1957–2011. PLoS ONE, 9(8): 1-7. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0103728

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