OSU Herpetological Collection

OSU Herpetological Collection
Facility Location: 
Facility Description: 

The herpetological research collection at OSU is housed in Cordley Hall (S. J. Arnold, Curator). The research collection consists of more than 50,000 ethanol-preserved amphibians andreptiles, and approximately 20,000 frozen tissue samples. A smaller series of preserved amphibians and reptiles is part of the Vertebrate Teaching Collection (R. T. Mason, Curator) and is also housed in Cordley Hall.

The research collection was begun by herpetologists in the Department of Zoology.Prof. Robert T. Storm and his students were especially instrumental in building a collection core focused on Oregon and adjacent regions in the Pacific Northwest. Much additional material in the collection was assembled in the course of quantitative genetic and behavioral research by S. J. Arnold and L. D. Houck and their students. This portion of the collection (about 40,000 specimens) is biased towards taxa that have been central to the Houck/Arnold research program (see table below). The natricine snake collection, for example, includes approximately 2900 families consisting of mothers and their broods. Most of these families represent matings in the wild, but approximately 250 represent captive breeding within and between populations.

Several digitized data sets are indexed to the whole animal and frozen tissue collection. The data are managed in a relational data base (Fox Pro) and consist of:

(1) a specimen catalog indexed by specimen number with data on site and date of capture, species identification, sex, body size.

(2) a frozen tissue catalog indexed by specimen number, with data on type of tissue.

(3) a birth catalog indexed by specimen number with data on the parents of captive-born broods, birth weights and mass, size and mass of dam.

(4) field notes representing the period 1962-present. Notes from the period 1970-present have been digitized and are indexed by locality and date.

(5) a collection of several hundred locality and specimen photographs (some digitized) indexed by locality and date.

(6) a gazetteer with data on the 1200+ localities represented in the collection, giving latitude, longitude, county and country for each locality.



Numbers of specimens of the best-represented taxa:  
Thamnophis elegans 12,207
Thamnophis couchii complex 3,070
Thamnophis sirtalis 8,335
Nerodia rhombifer 3,086
Nerodia taxispilota 2,016
Desmognathus ochrophaeus complex 2,412
Thamnophis ordinoides 2,270
Plethodon jordani complex 1,931
Thamnophis radix 568
Nerodia erythrogaster 128
Hours of Operation: 
Facility Contact Person: 
Steve Arnold
Facility Managing Unit: 
Department of Zoology
Facility Address: 
3029 Cordley Hall
Corvallis, OR 97331
United States