The Division of Amphibians and Reptiles, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, houses and maintains the largest herpetology collection in the world with over 555,000 specimens. Our collection, comprised primarily of fluid preserved specimens, includes representatives of about 63% of the approximately 15,000 known species of the world's herpetofauna. Our data base holds nearly 13,300 type records; over 2,470 of these are primary (name bearing) types. For more information please see the Division's Collections page.
Key word searches on summary fields can be run from the Keywords Search tab. Searches can be run against specific fields from the Search by Field tab. If you don't know what to search for, try one of the three sample searches in the Quick Browse list below.
Please note that not all of our holdings are included in our specimen database at present (99% are completely or partially listed). Currently only a small number of specimens have associated images. We are constantly adding records and images to the Herpetology database. If you spot an error please use the Feedback tab to let us know.
See the Help tab to learn more about searching and then exploring your returned results (sorting, exporting, etc.).
||Selected specimens from Ecuador with images
||6177348 6177362 6177365 6177384 6177433 6177453 6177462 6177475 6177484 6177485 6177540 6177551 6177555 6177584 6177585 6177586 6177594 6177598 6177687 6177688 6177690 6177718 6177741 6177743 6177745 6177756 6177775 6177776 6177777 6177784 6177786 6177797 6177799 6177801 6177803 6177804 6177805 6177806 6177810 6177824 6177825 6177826 6177827 6177829 6177830 6177831 6177832 6177833 6177834 6177840 6177842 6177850 6177851 6177852 6177853 6177854 6177855
||Wilkes Expedition Primary Types
||6001019 6178313 6550698 6001876 6001980 6002396 6367507 6172813 6367486 6002484 6002488 6002504 6547905 6003049 6003056 6174680 6004103 6006270 6262294 6357465 6359726 6111044 6111045 6001189 6181258 6358277 6004162
||Selected Records of Washington DC Herps
||6031738 6322170 6288746 6079797 6170347 6141669 6031742 6322171 6141662 6322140 6016898 6166740 6322166 6114786 6114782 6076352 6322141 6322169 6057750 6517743 6047212 6026597 6225310 6164022 6141668 6357487 6008977 6114634 6027449 6284465 6038618 6284402 6284351 6026572 6262199 6284489 6005797 6005798 6005799 6130687 6024830 6101883 6080936 6286723
Use the By Field search to find specimen data that match values in specific database fields.
Enter a value or choose one from the dropdown lists.
Click the Search button to initiate a search. Clear resets all fields.
Some lists are linked, so for example, choosing a Country narrows the choices for
Province/State/Territory, and District/County. Dropdown choices also
narrow as you type, for example, typing colu in the Family field might narrow the choice to Colubridae.
Check Only Records with Images if you want to restrict the search to records with multimedia content.
You will receive a warning when you enter invalid information in the text fields. For example,
Catalog Numbers are composed strictly of numbers; other characters raise a warning.
Enter your keywords separated by spaces and click Search. Records that match your search
terms will be returned.
You can join terms with OR to match any, e.g. minnesota OR wisconsin
- You can include the terms image(s) or type(s) to find records that have images or that are type specimens.
Note that searching for common (vernacular) names may not yield the expected results. Associating common names with specimen records is a work in progress.
Keyword search example: lithobates pipiens south dakota
The results of your searches can be displayed in Grid (a sortable, customizable table)
or Gallery View (best for reviewing images). Use the Switch button
to cycle between these views.
You can choose whether to display 5, 10, 20, 50, or 100 records at a time.
In Grid View:
You can choose the columns to display from any column's dropdown menu (mouse into
a column header and click the dropdown icon). Under Columns, click the name
to display or hide the field (you do not need to click the checkbox specifically).
You can drag a column header to change its order of appearance in the grid.
You can also drag the edge of a column to make it wider or narrower.
Click in the expansion
column to view the full record.
In Gallery View:
Click the image to view the full record.
See Exporting Results for information on downloading results to, for example,
Open the full collection record by clicking the expansion button
in Grid View,
or anywhere within the image frame in Gallery View. Inverse expansion buttons
indicate records with multimedia (typically, images).
In the Record window, metadata for the multimedia content is available when you mouseover the thumbnail.
Clicking the thumbnail opens the content in your browser or other appropriate application.
Record windows may be resized or moved within the browser window.
You may have up to ten Record windows open at any one time.
Sort results in Grid View by clicking the column header (or by choosing Sort from
the column's dropdown menu).
Sort on multiple columns by consecutively sorting columns in reverse order.
For example, to view results sorted by Country and Province/State, first sort by
Province/State and then sort again by Country.
For any column you can choose to sort in Ascending or Descending order.
Export all or selected results by clicking the Export Results as CSV button in the
bottom toolbar in Grid
or Gallery View.
Select individual records for Export by checking the export selection box
(along the left edge of the Grid View grid).
Clear all selections with the Clear Selections button in the bottom toolbar.
Results are exported as comma-separated-values, one record per line, which can be saved
to disk or opened directly with applications such as Microsoft Excel.
Here are a few search tips:
Query results are limited to 5000 records. Avoid very general queries that
return very large numbers of records, e.g. searching for viperidae.
You can choose which columns to display in the Grid View of your search results.
Move your pointer to any column header and click on the dropdown arrow. Scroll
to Columns and then check or uncheck column names to show or hide those
columns in the grid.
To create a link to specific records at NMNH provide a querystring for:
where QUERYSTRING is (use a plus-sign to separate case-insensitive terms):
One or more CATALOG NUMBERS, e.g.
The NAME of a specimen, e.g.:
The NAME of a TYPE specimen, e.g.:
A GENERAL query, searching on any combination of: NAME (qn), FAMILY (fm), TYPE STATUS (ts),
COLLECTION (cn), EXPEDITION NAME (ex), or WITH IMAGES ONLY (io), e.g.:
To open the Collections Search to a specific search tab, e.g.
Tabs are numbered left to right, beginning with zero.
herps/?ti=2 (Search by Field)
Please use the Feedback page to report problems you find with the data, or with using
these search pages.