The University of Arizona Museum of Natural History (UAZ), Herpetology Collection presently houses over 57,000 cataloged amphibian and reptile specimens.
The holdings for this Legacy Collection are international in scope, spanning forty-six countries from six continents, and include material from forty-six U.S. states and territories, as well as thirty Mexican states. Other regions with coverage include Central America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia
, and the Middle East. The principal strength of this collection, however, resides in extensive holdings from the Southwestern United States
, and Northern Mexico
. Approximently 70% of our specimens are from the States of Arizona, USA
and Sonora, Mexico
, making this assemblage one of the premiere regional collections in the country, and the single most important herpetological collection covering this extremely diverse and important biological realm.
The bulk of our holdings are formalin-fixed and preserved in isopropyl alcohol (33% for amphibians and 55% for reptiles), but the collection also includes osteological preparations, dehydrated specimens, photographic specimen vouchers (PSV), formalin preserved amphibian larvae, cleared and stained material, and a small but growing tissue collection. These collections are maintained by Collections Manager George Bradley. Any inquiries or comments should be directed to him. Full contact information is available at the bottom of this page.
At present, approximately 240 species of amphibians from 3 Orders, 24 Families, and 66 Genera, as well as 637 species of reptiles from 3 Orders, 35 Families, and 258 Genera are represented. Taxonomically, the collection has several important strengths. The collection possesses one of the largest and most diverse assemblages of the Teiid genus Cnemidophorus (Aspidoscelis in part) available with 8,860 specimens distributed in 35 species. Our holdings of the Family Xantusiidae demonstrate another strength, where 11 species are represented by over 1,200 specimens. Several other “southwestern specialties” such as the Viperid genus Crotalus (20 species, 2078 specimens), the Colubrid genera Phyllorhynchus (2 species, 479 specimens), Thamnophis (18 species, 1443 specimens), Salvadora (5 species, 578 specimens), and Chionactis (2 species, 314 specimens), as well as the Iguanid genera Urosaurus 6 species, 2628 specimens), Phrynosoma (12 species, 1950 specimens), Sauromalus (4 species, 345 specimens), and Sceloporus (44 species, 5738 specimens) are very well represented. This collection is also well known for its holdings of the genus Heloderma , with 25 H. horridum and 257 H. suspectum.
The collection maintains a total of 142 type specimens, which are comprised of 12 holotypes, 109 paratypes, 5 topotypes, and 16 topoparatypes. These type specimens may be made available for non-destructive study at UAZ facilities only, and are not generally available for specimen loans.
The data for all holdings in the collection have been computerized. Although very much still a work in progress, an attempt has been made to include all available information for each specimen in this database. The searchable database available within this website now contains much of this information. Data requests are available if additional information is needed.