The KU Amphibian Collection

KU Herpetology hosts one of the largest amphibian collections in the world, with more than 150,000 specimens representing more than 2500 species and all almost every amphibian family (known exceptions include four small and, in some cases, only recently described groups from Asian frogs (Micrixalidae, Nasikabatrachidae, Ranixalidae, and Chikilidae).

Frogs & Toads: The majority of our anurans (60%) are neotropical species, which are represented in approximately equal proportions by treefrogs (Hylidae) and terraranans (Brachycephalidae, Ceuthomantidae, Craugastoridae, Eleutherodactylidae, and Strabomantidae).  Other well-represented neotropical families include Bufonidae, Centrolenidae, Dendrobatidae, and Hemiphractidae. Anurans from Asia are best represented by Ceratobatrachidae, Microhylidae, Ranidae, and Rhacophoridae.

Salamanders: Our salamander collection includes nearly 300 species and more than 23,000 specimens representing all recognized families. About 17,000 of these specimens are plethodontids, which are best represented by species from the southern Appalachian Mountains and the Ozark Mountains in the USA and equally represented by Bolitoglossa, Pseudoeurycea, and Thorius from Mexico and Central America. Also, there are about 3500 specimens of Ambystoma and more than 1800 salamandrids.

Caecilians: The 318 specimens of caecilians in the collection represent 46 species of all recognized families.  Most specimens are species of Caecilidae (264) from Central and South America and species of Ichthyophiidae (47) from Asia.

Larval amphibians: Larval salamanders and anurans (tadpoles) are stored 10% buffered formalin. KU’s larval collection contains 177 lots of salamanders larvae and 6066 lots of anurans.  Hylidae and Hemiphractidae are especially well represented by tadpoles.  Special efforts by Linda Trueb and some of her students have resulted in developmental series of many species of anurans.

Skeletal collections: KU has developed and maintains an extensive osteological collection—especially of anurans.  Preparations are dry, cleared-and-stained, and sectioned histological slides.