Herpetology Collection

frog specimen
Southern Gastric Brooding Frog (Rheobatrachus silus) collected by John Gould
Image: Benjamin Healley
Source: Museum Victoria

Limited collection access June 2014 to December 2014

Due to a major relocation project during 2014-2015, there will be limited access to the Dry Herpetology Collection from June 2014 to December 2014. Be advised that we may not be able to accommodate requests for loans or visitation during this period. If possible, please arrange to work outside this period. Further updates regarding collection closure will be posted in due course. Thank you for your patience.

The Herpetology Collection comprises over 78,000 specimens of snakes, lizards, frogs, salamanders, crocodilians and turtles. Established in the 1850s, collection comprises specimens kept in 70% alcohol, plus sub-collections of ethanol-fixed and frozen tissues, a dry and skeletal collection, and an x-ray and photographic collection. The collection is used for research and exhibition purposes, with the research use significantly increasing in recent years with the growth of the tissue collection. Researchers in the Herpetology section recently amplified and sequenced DNA from historic reptile and amphibian specimens – groundbreaking work that opens up new avenues for research.

Although the primary focus has on south-eastern Australian specimens, the collection contains a significant mateiral from elsewhere in Australia and overseas.

Significant items

  • Type collection spanning the full life of the museum, providing the ultimate reference for a significant number of Australian species.
  • Reptile and amphibian specimens from extinct and endangered populations within Australia.
  • Important historical material includes central Australian specimens from the Horn Scientific Expedition of 1894 and the Spencer-Gillen expedition of 1901–02.
  • University of Melbourne Zoology Department amphibian collection (20 000 specimens).
  • La Trobe University reptile collection (7000 specimens).
  • A good representation of silicon rubber moulds, from which long lasting casts for exhibition can be produced.

Last updated 20 February 2013

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