The Herpetology collection currently contains nearly 52,000 catalogued specimens of amphibians and reptiles. A large proportion of the collection is composed of amphibians and reptiles from the United States (46 states are represented), and many of these species are from the Southern Plains and Oklahoma. Approximately 60% (~31,000 specimens) of the collection is made up of Oklahoma specimens, making it the largest repository of Oklahoma reptiles and amphibians. The collection also contains specimens from a total of 50 countries, with relatively large numbers from Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador, and Egypt. An early collection of specimens is from the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador.
Much of the older Oklahoma material in the collection was a result of early expeditions organized by faculty members in the Department of Zoology and by the Oklahoma Biological Survey. Many of these early collecting trips in Oklahoma were organized by Dr. A. I. Ortenburger. Dr. Arthur N. Bragg was Curator of Amphibians for more than 30 years, and he led many of the early expeditions in Oklahoma and published many scientific papers on spadefoot toads. The herpetology collection is named in his honor. Dr. Charles C. Carpenter, currently Curator Emeritus, also conducted many field trips for the purpose of expanding the collection in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The Herpetology Library is named in his honor. Recently retired curators Dr. Janalee P. Caldwell and Dr. Laurie J. Vitt contributed nearly 12,000 specimens during their 20+ year tenure with The University of Oklahoma and the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. Many of these specimens are from the Brazilian Amazon and include a handful of species new to science.
The collection is housed in a modern state-of-the-art facility, which opened in 2000. Temperature, humidity, and light are closely controlled and pest management protocols are closely followed. Current growth of the collection is directed toward acquisition of specimens from Southeast Asia, from re-surveys of selected areas in Oklahoma, and from research programs carried out by curators and graduate students.
Interested in joining the Herpetology Department?
Dr. Cameron D. Siler, Curator
Jessa L. Watters, Collection Manager
Dr. Janalee P. Caldwell, Curator Emeritus (Amphibians)
Dr. Laurie J. Vitt, Curator Emeritus (Reptiles)
Dr. Charles C. Carpenter, Curator Emeritus
Dr. Teresa C. Avila-Pires, Affiliated Research Associate
Dr. Guarino Rinaldi Colli, Affiliated Research Associate
Dr. William E. Cooper, Jr., Affiliated Research Associate
Dr. Daniel Oliveira Mesquita, Affiliated Research Associate
Dr. Donald B. Shepard, Affiliated Research Associate