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Herpetology Collections and Research

The herpetological collection at the Burke Museum contains more than 8,000 specimens of amphibians and reptiles. The collection is particularly strong in amphibians and garter snakes from the Pacific Northwest. 

More than 2,200 specimens are forest-dwelling amphibians from Western Washington obtained during wildlife studies in the 1980s and early 1990s. About 900 are garter snakes collected by William Hebard during the mid-1900s. The remainder of the specimens are from recent collecting expeditions in Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Ghana where herpetology staff have active research programs. Read more about the history of the Herpetology collection.

The collection consists largely of alcohol-preserved specimens with a small number of photographs and skeletons (~150). Tissue samples are available for all specimens collected since 2010 in the Burke’s genetic resource collection.

Amphibians in the Burke Museum's herpetology collection.
The Burke's herpetological collection contains more than 8,000 specimens.
Photo by Cathy Britt

Herpetology Database

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Under Collection Name "UWBM Herp"


Dr. Adam Leaché, curator of genetic resources and herpetology at the Burke Museum, is part of a group of evolutionary biologists, called the Leaché Lab, who are interested in the diversity and systematics of reptiles and amphibians. Their research is focused on topics including phylogenetics and species tree inference, statistical phylogeography, species delimitation, and comparative biology.

Their research is collections-based, and it takes them to places including Western North America, Mexico, & West Africa. To learn more about their research, visit the Leaché Lab website.


For a complete list of Dr. Adam Leaché’s publications, visit his page on the Leache Lab website