Zoology Web Resources

Amphibians & Reptiles




American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Grice Marine Laboratory, University of Charleston, 205 Fort Johnson Rd., Charleston, SC 29412. Phone: 843-406-4017. E-mail: asih@mail.utexas.edu.

British Herpetological Society. c/o The Zoological Society of London, Regent's Park, London, NW1 4RY, UK.  E-mail: info@thebhs.org.

Herpetologists' League. Biological Sciences Box 4050, Emporia State University, Emporia, KS 66801-4050. Phone: 316-341-5606. E-mail: sievert1@esumail.emporia.edu.

Societas Europaea Herpetologica (SEH). c/o M.R.K. Lambert, Natural Resources Institute, Central Avenue, Chatham Maritime, Kent ME4 4TB, United Kingdom. E-mail: Lambertmrk@aol.com.

Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. Biology Dept., St. Louis University, 3507 Laclede Ave., St. Louis, MO 63103-2010. Phone: 314-977-3916. Fax: 314-977-3658. E-mail: ssar@slu.

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HERPFAUN. Smith, Charles H. Heidelberg, Germany: EMBL, 1993.

    This bibliography contains over 2,000 references dealing with the geographical distribution of reptiles and amphibians worldwide.  It includes a variety of document types, including faunal monographs, checklists, determination keys, taxonomic revisions, bibliographies, conservation status reports, field guides, and so on.  The database can be searched by higher taxon and by geographical location and can be downloaded either as a text file, an hqx file, or a zipped text file.

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Checklists and Classification Schemes

Checklist of Amphibian Species and Identification Guide: An Online Guide for the Identification of Amphibians in North America North of Mexico. (Version 30 Sept., 2002). Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center. Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Home Page, 1997.

    This site provides a browseable checklist of all amphibian species and subspecies currently recognized in North America north of Mexico.  Salamanders, newts, frogs, and toads are briefly described in their adult phase; many entries include photos and range maps showing where a species is found. There is also an annotated list of amphibian and reptile identification Web sites.

Crocodilian, Tuatara, and Turtle Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. King, F. Wayne and Russell L. Burke, eds. Washington, DC: Association of Systematics Collections, 1989. 216 p. ISBN 0942924150.

    The checklist includes a bibliography of publications written by Archie Carr, who had recently died, as well as a checklist covering 271 species of non-squamata reptiles arranged taxonomically.  Each entry includes synonymy, type species and location, distribution, and comments.  There are some black and white illustrations.  An updated version is also available at this Web site.

Crocodilian Species List. Britton, Adam.

    This site provides detailed species accounts for all 23 species of crocodilians, including photographs, distribution maps, conservation status, and natural history.  The site also discusses crocodilian classification, communication, captive care, and much more information about crocodilian evolution and biology.

The EMBL Reptile Database. Uetz, Peter. Heidelberg, Germany: EMBL Heidelberg, 1995.

    Intended to provide classification information on all species of living reptiles, this database is updated about every three months and contains listings of synonyms, subspecies, family, distribution, comments, and references for each species of reptile.  The site also includes links to other reptile sites, information on keeping reptiles as pets, a list of references used to create the database, and more.  The database will include distribution maps and descriptions in the future.  At the time of visiting, only families were described, though some species accounts included links to photographs.

EMYSystem. Iverson, John B., A. Jon Kimerling, and A. Ross Kiester. Corvallis, OR: Terra Incognita Laboratory, Oregon State University, 2000.

    The site is a continuation of Iverson’s A Revised Checklist with Distribution Maps of the Turtles of the World, which included distribution maps and keys as well as taxonomic and nomenclatural information. Entries cover synonymy, common name, holotype, type location, distribution, subspecies, comments, and phylogenies where available.  In addition to the information found in the book, the site provides links to resources for turtle conservation and an identification resource that was under construction at the time of viewing.  The database can be browsed by scientific or common name or searched.

Names of the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America. Beltz, Ellin. 2002.

    Provides a checklist of scientific and common names of North American herps, including translations of scientific names, a biographical appendix listing individuals who had species named after them, citations to original descriptions, and a glossary of mythological terms used in herp nomenclature.

Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North Of Mexico: With Comments Regarding Confidence in our Understanding. Crother, Brian I. St. Louis, MO: Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, 2001. 82 p. (Herpetological Circular, no. 29). $11.00. ISBN 0916984540.

    Formerly published as Standard Common and Current Scientific Names for North American Amphibians and Reptiles. The guide provides information on forming acceptable common names, and includes references to the literature used in creating the list.  The bulk of the list consists of an alphabetical list of genera within each order with notes, common names, and scientific names. An html version of the book is available at the society’s web page, along with a pdf version at http://www.ku.edu/~ssar/pdf/crother.pdf.

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Guides to the Literature

Center for North American Herpetology.

    The Center for North American Herpetology (CNAH) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting education about and conservation of amphibians and reptiles.  Its Web site, subtitled “The Academic Portal to North American Herpetology”, lives up to its billing.  It provides many links to herpetology sites, including North American sites arranged by taxonomic group, lists of societies and collections, directories, information on careers and jobs, links to the 5th edition of Standard Common and Current Scientific Names for North American Amphibians, Turtles, Reptiles, and Crocodilians, and much more.

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Amphibian Species of the World: An Online Reference. Frost, Darrel R. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 2002. Version 2.21 (15 July 2002).

    This site provides scientific name, authority, year of publication, type species and location, English common name, distribution, and status for all species of amphibians. It updates the author’s Amphibian Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographical Reference, published in 1985.  Users can search by taxonomic or geographic name or browse by taxonomic hierarchy.

Amphibiaweb: An Information System for Amphibian Conservation Biology. Berkeley: Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley, 2000.

    This database provides detailed taxonomic and conservation information on all 5,000 species of amphibians of the world.  It includes taxonomic information taken from Frost’s Amphibian Species of the World (below).  At the time of viewing, coverage was spotty as some pages contained only taxonomic information and links to museum collections.  Other pages were more complete, with photographs, descriptions, life history, distribution, and references. The site also includes information on the decline in amphibian populations worldwide.

Caecilians Web Site. Herndon, Rebecca and Seth Morris.

    It is difficult to find information about caecilians (AKA rubber eels or black eels in the aquarium trade).  This site provides basic information about caecilians, including taxonomy, a bibliography, care in captivity, images, and video clips.

Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. New York: American Museum of Natural History for the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, 1971- 

    This publication consists of a series of individual two- to five-page species accounts.  As of 2002, about 760 accounts had been published in looseleaf format.  Each entry lists previous references, description, illustrations, distribution, fossil record, remarks, etymology, and comments. A list of recently published accounts can be found at this Web site.

Turtles of the World.  Ernst, Carl H., R. G. M. Altenburg, and Roger William Barbour. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Expert-center for Taxonomic Identification, 2000. 1 CD. (World Biodiversity Database CD-ROM series). $149.00. ISBN 3540145478 (Windows version 1.2); 3540145486 (Mac version 1.0).

    This CD-ROM updates Ernst and Barbour’s classic Turtles of the World.  Users can browse through the taxonomical hierarchy, map geographic distributions, and use an interactive key for identifying species.  Each species account includes information multiple color photographs, identification, distribution, geographic variation, habitat, natural history, and conservation status.  ETI also has a “microsite” containing general information on turtles taken from the CD at http://www.eti.uva.nl/Turtles/Turtles.html. The taxonomic information from the CD can also be searched at ETI’s World Biodiversity Database site at http://www.eti.uva.nl/Database/WBD.html.

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Identification Tools

CITES Identification Guide-Crocodilians: Guide to the Identification of Crocodilian Species Controlled Under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Ottawa: Environment Canada, 1995. 1 v. (various pagings) ISBN 0662619579.

    A guide to the identification of 21 species of crocodilians.  The multi-lingual guide has keys to adult specimens and hides.  Species accounts provide a black and white illustration, distribution map, CITES status, and type of trade in body parts.  The full text of the guide is also available in html format at this Web site.

CITES Identification Guide - Turtles and Tortoises: Guide to the Identification of Turtles and Tortoises Species Controlled Under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna And Flora. Ottawa: Environment Canada, 1999. 1 v. (various pagings). ISBN 0662641698.

    Covers turtle species protected by CITES or likely to be mistaken for protected species, plus some common commercial species.  Similar in format to the crocodilian guide above.  In English, French, and Spanish.  Full text of the guide is available in pdf format at this Web site.

Tadpoles of the United States and Canada: A Tutorial and Key. Altig, Ronald, Roy W. McDiarmid, Kimberly A. Nichols, and Paul C. Ustach. Patuxent, MS: Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.

    A key to the tadpoles of North America, this site does not use the usual dichotomous key system.  Instead, users first key the specimen to the family level.  Within each family, there are separate sections for groups of characteristics such as range, coloration, labial tooth row formula, and others.  The authors plan to publish this key and similar ones for other larval amphibians in book format (date not given).

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Contemporary Herpetology. No.1-  .  Hammond, LA: Contemporary Herpetology, 1998-  . ISSN 1094-2246. Only available electronically.

    An electronic journal publishing articles on all aspects of herpetology, including ecology, ethology, systematics, conservation biology, and physiology. CH will also publish monographs, points-of-view, and faunistic surveys of poorly-known areas.


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Last update: 04/08/2008