The Herpetology Collection comprises more than 76,000 specimens of snakes, lizards, frogs, salamanders, tortoises and turtles.

Established in the 1850s, the majority of the collection comprises specimens kept in 70% alcohol, plus sub-collections of ethanol-fixed and frozen tissues, a dry and skeletal collection, an X-ray and photographic collection.

The collection is used for research and exhibition purposes, with 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.

The collection is highly significant for three main reasons:

It is one of the oldest reptile and amphibian collections in Australia.

It contains around 900 type specimens, as well as tissues.

It is the largest existing collection of south-east Australian reptiles and amphibians.

Although the primary focus has been on the acquisition of specimens from south-eastern Australia, the collection contains a significant number of specimens and species from elsewhere in Australia and overseas.

Historic material acquired by Frederick McCoy during the 19th century includes significant collections originating from overseas. McCoy formed the foundation of the herpetological library, which is well maintained and comprises recent and historical publications, including books, journals and reprints.

Taxonomic range

Kingdoms covered include: Animalia.

Number of specimens in the collection

The estimated number of specimens in the Museums Victoria Herpetology Collection is 76,000.

Click the Records & Statistics tab to access those database records that are available through the atlas.


The Museums Victoria Herpetology Collection contains these significant collections:

  • University of Melbourne Zoology Department amphibian collection - 20,000 specimens
  • La Trobe University reptile collection - 7,000 specimens

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Metadata last updated on 2018-06-22 11:59:00.0

Digitised records available through the Atlas

The Museums Victoria Herpetology Collection has an estimated 76,000 specimens.

Looking up... the number of records that can be accessed through the Atlas of Living Australia Click to view all records for the Museums Victoria Herpetology Collection

No records are available for viewing in the Atlas.

Images from this collection