Herpetology FAQs | Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

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Herpetology Contact Information

General Inquiries:

Telephone: (213) 763-3371
Fax: (213) 748-4432

Neftali Camacho
Collections Manager, Herpetology

Greg Pauly
Assistant Curator, Herpetology


You can also follow Herpetology Section happenings on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LACMherps.


Herpetology FAQs

How do I arrange a specimen loan from Herpetology?

To arrange loans, schedule visits, or request collection data, please contact collections manager Neftali Camacho (ncamacho@nhm.org).  More information, including our loan policy, can be found on the Collections page.

What resources does Herpetology maintain?

  • Approximately 183,000 catalogued specimens, including skeletal and cleared & stained specimens;
  • The Costa Rican Expedition (CRE) Reptile and Amphibian Collection, including more than 20,000 specimens collected from a variety of localities in Costa Rica throughout the 1960s, '70s, and '80s by Dr. Jay Savage and colleagues;
  • Frozen tissue collection;
  • Digital and slide photographic collection;
  • Histological collection, including many slides from the work of long-time Research Associate Stephen Goldberg;
  • Gut contents from a number of species;
  • An extensive teaching collection of both wet specimens and skeletons; and
  • Herpetology library and map collection, an extensive collection of reprints, journals, and books covering all aspects of amphibian and reptile biology and evolution.

Are there opportunities to volunteer?

Yes, we welcome dedicated, hard-working volunteers with a passion for organisms and the natural world.  Volunteers work alongside research staff on numerous aspects of specimen preparation, collection care, and public programs.  If you are interested in volunteering in the section or elsewhere in the museum, see the Volunteer page.  For more information about volunteering in Herpetology, contact Neftali Camacho (ncamacho@nhm.org).

Do you accept donations of specimens?

Yes, we welcome donations of amphibians, reptiles, and material associated with their collection and study (e.g., audio or video recordings, photographs, field notes, etc.).  Donations may be preserved specimens or unpreserved material, such as frozen carcasses (e.g., roadkill), that will be prepared by museum staff and/or volunteers.  Donated material will be incorporated into the Museum collection and be available for research, education, and/or exhibit as appropriate for the material and the goals of the Museum.

Critically, the collection of most wildlife, including reptiles and amphibians, is heavily regulated.  Collections should only be made with the appropriate permits and/or licenses.  All donations of recently collected specimens must include copies of permits or other documentation of legal collection or salvage. 

The research value of specimens depends in large part on the quality of associated collection data.  Ideally, donated specimens should include the following information:

  • collector name(s);
  • collection date;
  • collection locality, ideally with both a written description of the locality (country, state, county, and specific localit) and the latitude and longitude from a GPS with geodetic system or datum (e.g., WGS84, NAD27, etc) reported and margin of error recorded; and
  • associated notes on the specimen or habitat where found.

Deceased pets will not be accepted as donations unless the specimen represents a species that is rare in museum collections.