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Mission

The long term goals of the Division of Amphibians & Reptiles is to support research in functional and evolutionary ecology with an emphasis in the conservation of biological diversity. The division's staff and students address its mission by curating collections of amphibians and reptiles and associated data from throughout New Mexico and other areas, serving as a repository for voucher specimens resulting from a diversity of studies, and performing community

About the Division of Amphibians & Reptiles

The Division of Amphibians & Reptiles maintains on of the largest research collections in the western United States. A collection of 5,000 amphibians and reptiles made by William J. Koster formed the basis of the original collection. However, with the arrival of William G. Degenhardt in 1960 from Texas A&M University, a dramatic increase in holdings occurred. Through Degenhardt's own collecting efforts and those of his classes and graduate students, the division grew rapidly in size during the 1960s and 70's. Since the late 1980s, the division has become the primary repository for specimens collected as part of expanding research on the State's herpetofauna by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, and continues to receive herpetological collections provided by researchers from a variety of state and federal agencies. These extensive collections and the increased knowledge of New Mexico's herpetofauna has resulted in the recent publication of Amphibians and Reptiles of New Mexico (1996) by W.G. Degenhardt, C.W. Painter & A.H. Price.

Currently, there are more than 73,000 specimens mostly from the Southwestern United States, primarily from New Mexico and Texas. However, substantial numbers of specimens from elsewhere in the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean region, the Galapagos Islands, and Vietnam are also included. The division maintains representative skeletal material, a small type collection, and a collection of uncatalogued specimens for teaching purposes. Other important collections in the division's holdings are from the Big Bend National Park by W.G. Degenhardt and T.L. Brown (all taxa), the Appalachian Plateau by G.B. Wilmott (salamanders), the West Indies by K.L. Jones (leptodactylid frogs), and the Delmarva Peninsula by R. Conant (all taxa).

Personnel associated with the division conduct research in the Southwest and the Galapagos Islands involving functional and evolutionary ecology of reptiles and conservation of biological diversity. Collaborative projects are coordinated with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and the Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands. These projects investigate the effects of habitat alteration on populations of amphibians and reptiles as well as restoration efforts for endangered populations. The division has strong graduate and undergraduate programs in herpetology and conservation biology.


Taxonomic Concentration
Squamata AnuraUrodelaTestudines
71.0%17.3%6.3%4.9%


Geographic Concentration
New Mexico Other SW StatesOther U.S. & CanadaLatin AmericaOther
53.2% 21.5%11.9%12.1%1.3%