Herpetology
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Tropical anole (Norops lemurinus) in Belize.
Norops lemurinus in Belize. photo by Gregory J. Watkins-Colwell

The herpetology collection in the Peabody’s Division of Vertebrate Zoology is worldwide in scope, with over 23,000 specimens and specimen lots (including larvae) of amphibians (over 300 taxa) and reptiles (more than 1,300 taxa). Holdings include 95 type specimens of 8 taxa in both wet and osteological collections.

The history of the collection dates back to the mid 1800's.  Most specimens were collected after the 1930s, and more recent expeditions (such as Middle America and New Caledonia) have added to the collection. Additionally, field collecting in New England and elsewhere in the United States has improved the taxonomic diversity of the North American holdings. New England collections include specimens from the Maine Amphibian and Reptile Atlas Project, as well as from the Connecticut Amphibian Monitoring Project (in which the Yale Peabody Museum is a partner institution).  The Division has produced an online guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Connecticut.  Collections from outside North America are mostly represented by specimens from Africa and Asia.

Specimens collected in the 19th century were not preserved with formalin, and so are suitable today for research techniques such as DNA sequencing. Often these specimens represent locality records that no longer exist, making them valuable for the study of systematic, phylogenetic, population and biogeographical patterns.

The Yale Peabody Museum’s collections are available to legitimate researchers for scholarly use. Loans are issued to responsible individuals at established institutions. Loans and access to the collection can be arranged through the Collections Manager.

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