Herpetofauna from Asia
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Calotes versicolor from Lantau Island, Hong Kong

Holdings in the herpetology collection of the Yale Peabody Museum’s Division of Vertebrate Zoology includes specimens from throughout Asia.


China and Hong Kong

Recent work by affiliates and staff includes fieldwork in the islands of the Taiwan Strait, Guangdong Province, and the lesser populated regions of Hong Kong. To date, more than 800 specimens have been collected, representing more than 65 taxa.

While new species have been discovered during this fieldwork, of perhaps greater interest are the changes to geographic distributions of known species. In many cases, species thought to be restricted to mountains are also found on the offshore islands. This could mean that many of these species once had continuous distributions across the highlands, and that when sea levels rose some became isolated on what are now the islands of the Taiwan Strait. Isolated from much of the human residents, those populations held on while the mainland populations largely succumbed to habitat alteration and other human-based activities. This resulted in refuge populations in the isolated mountains of the mainland, and the offshore islands.

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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