The amphibian and reptile collections at Auburn University include ca. 40,000 specimens. The collection focuses on the state of Alabama, but also includes significant series from other portions of the southeastern United States. Representatives of most North American species are present in the cataloged material as is a small collection of specimens from the Caribbean. The collections primarily are stored in alcohol, but include significant skeletal materials (primarily turtles), amphibian larvae, and eggs. The Auburn University Museum Reptile and Amphibian Collection can be searched at this link: SEARCH DATABASE. Loans of specimens are made to scientists and students associated with recognized institutions or to others with adequate credentials.
The research collections of amphibians and reptiles housed at Auburn University were first developed by John S. “Jack” Mecham, who taught herpetology at Auburn from 1956-1965 and required collections as part of the lab experience of each student. Curation of these collections was assumed by Robert H. “Bob” Mount, who taught herpetology from 1966-1985. Expansion of the collections was greatest during this era and formed the foundation for publication of The Reptiles and Amphibians of Alabama (reprinted by University of Alabama Press), the seminal herpetofaunal publication for the state. Currently, the collections are curated by Craig Guyer, who has taught herpetology since 1987 and has expanded the collections through traditional specimens, photographic vouchers, and extensive databases of population and macroecological studies.
Auburn’s herpetological history includes a large cohort of graduate students who have received training here. To date, 86 dissertations or theses have been produced that deal with amphibians or reptiles. We maintain historical photographs of the collections and former students, staff, and faculty.
Volunteer workers in the reptile and amphibian collection perform tasks vital to the maintenance and use of the collection. During their volunteer activities, they become experienced in curatorial functions, gain familiarity with the reptile and amphibian fauna, and have the opportunity to interact with a variety of scientists. For more information or to volunteer your services, e-mail or visit with the Curator.