The Academy's herpetology collections

Our collection of amphibians and reptiles is one of the ten largest in the world, containing more than 315,000 cataloged specimens from 175 countries. Important holdings include those from the western United States and Mexico, Southwest and Southeast Asia, Oceania, and northern, southern, and eastern Africa.

Database Overview and Instructions

This site provides access to specimen-associated data housed in the Department of Herpetology, California Academy of Sciences. These data are also distributed through other portals including HerpNet, VertNet, and GBIF.

The herpetology collection catalog currently contains records for approximately 315,000 specimens. The collection is comprised of the California Academy of Sciences (CAS) collection (~262,000 specimens) and the Stanford University collection (CAS-SU) (53,288 specimens). The SU specimens are still tagged with their original SU numbers. Amphibians and reptiles were cataloged together in the CAS collection and separately in the SU collection. Therefore, the collection contains triplicate numbers for the first 24,299 catalog numbers and duplicate numbers for catalog numbers between 24,300 and 28,999. To search for a particular specimen use the catalog number in combination with the correct acronym.





Loan Policy

Our policy allows loans to be made to institutions via a member of the staff of that institution for a period of six months subject to renewal. Factors limiting loans are: (1) failure to return previous material when requested, providing reasonable sufficient time has elapsed for study of the materials; (2) improper handling of specimens resulting in excessive and unreasonable damage exceeding the demands of the investigation, removal of catalog-tags, or other procedures that could adversely affect the documentation of the specimen; (3) improper procedures in packaging and returning the material; and (4) a request for an excessive number of specimens, either not justified by the nature of the investigation or which is simply beyond the ability of the Academy's staff to meet.

For more information regarding loans please e-mail or call the collection manager.

Terms of Use

These databases and all images within them are owned and copyrighted by the California Academy of Sciences or licensed to it. The data and images may be used freely by individuals and organizations for purposes of basic research, education and conservation. These data and images may not be used for commercial or for-profit purposes without the express written consent of the California Academy of Sciences, and may not be repackaged, resold, or redistributed in any form.

Use of the data or images in publications, dissertations and theses, or other scientific reports, should be accompanied by an acknowledgement of the Department of Herpetology, California Academy of Sciences, as the source for the information. Please provide the Department with electronic versions of articles resulting from the use of these data or images. This helps us to document the use of specimens as “vouchers” in the literature. It also helps us to justify continued funding for the collections so that these resources remain available into the future. In our collections database, you will note that we now include information on citations to individual specimens including publications and GenBank records.

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