San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionExhibits
LIZARDS AND SNAKES: ALIVE!

HERPETOLOGY AT THE SAN DIEGO NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

The San Diego Natural History Museum collection now holds over 9800 rattlesnake specimens, one of the largest in the world.
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The herpetology collection contains over 72,000 fluid-preserved specimens and 3100 skeletons. The collection is used by scientists to better understand the biodiversity, distribution, and general biology of amphibians and reptiles from the Museum’s region. The collection has been built over the past century and is actively being added to today. Of particular importance is the Laurence M. Klauber collection containing over 43,000 specimens he personally cataloged. This includes his rattlesnake collection, containing over 8600 specimens, and representing nearly every known species. The collection now holds over 9800 rattlesnake specimens, one of the largest in the world. Mr. Klauber’s library of rare and antiquarian natural history books and archival material from his research and publications are held in the Museum's Research Library.

The Department of Herpetology focuses on the study of amphibians and reptiles. Resources are available to scientists to help better understand amphibian and reptile biology and conserve species when their existence is threatened. The great diversity of amphibian and reptile species is preserved for scientific research in the form of alcohol-preserved and skeletal specimens. The herpetology collection holds over 75,000 catalogued individuals dating back to the 1890s. Over 57% of the collection comes from California and Baja California, making it one of the largest resources for this area. The collection is well represented with specimens from throughout the southwest United States, northwest Mexico, and islands worldwide. All cataloged specimens are computer databased which allows for any combination of taxonomic and geographic records to be searched. Check out our Holotype Collection Database to see our collection in detail!


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The Department is supported, in part, by the Laurence M. and Grace G. Klauber Endowment for Herpetology. The Curator is Bradford Hollingsworth, Ph.D.


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