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Zoology

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Anthropology · Anthrozoology
Apiology · Arachnology
Arthropodology · Cetology
Conchology · Entomology
Ethology · Helminthology
Herpetology · Ichthyology
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Paleozoology · Planktology
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Georges Cuvier · Charles Darwin
William Kirby · Carolus Linnaeus
Konrad Lorenz · Thomas Say
Alfred Russel Wallace · more...

History

Pre-Darwin
Post-Darwin

Herpetology is the branch of zoology concerned with the study of amphibians (including the frogs, toads, salamanders, newts, and gymnophionae) and of reptiles (including snakes, lizards, amphisbaenids, turtles, terrapins, tortoises, crocodilians, and the tuataras).

Herpetology is concerned with poikilothermic, ectothermic tetrapods. "Herps" (or sometimes "herptiles" or "herpetofauna") include reptiles and amphibians, but exclude fish. However, it is not uncommon for herpetological and ichthyological scientific societies to "team up", publishing joint journals and holding conferences in order to foster the exchange of ideas between the fields. One of the most prestigious organizations, the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, is an example of this. Many herpetological societies exist today having been formed to promote interest in reptiles and amphibians both captive and wild.

Herpetology offers benefits to humanity in the study of the role of amphibians and reptiles in global ecology, especially because amphibians are often very sensitive to environmental changes, offering a visible warning to humans that significant changes are taking place. Some toxins and venoms produced by reptiles and amphibians are useful in human medicine. Currently, some snake venom has been used to create anti-coagulants that work to treat stroke victims and heart attack cases.

The word "herpetology" is from Greek: ἑρπετόν, herpeton, "creeping animal" and -λογία, -logia. People with an avid interest in herpetology and who keep different reptiles or amphibians, often refer to themselves as "herpers."

Careers

There are many careers in the field of herpetology. These include, but are not limited to, field research, public and private breeding, zoological staff or curating, museum staff or curating and college teaching.

Those wishing to pursue a career in herpetology must have a strong science and math background. Few universities offer this program, and thus it is a highly competitive field.

In modern academic science, it is rare for individuals to consider themselves a herpetologist first and foremost. Most individuals focus on a particular field such as ecology, evolution, taxonomy, physiology, or molecular biology, and within that field ask questions pertaining to or best answered by examining reptiles and amphibians. For example, an evolutionary biologist who is also a herpetologist may choose to work on how warning coloration evolved in coral snakes.

Further reading

  • Kraig Adler (1989) Contributions to the History of Herpetology, Society for the study of amphibians and reptiles.

External links

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Simple English

Herpetology is the branch of zoology concerned with reptiles and amphibians. It studies about cold-blooded animals like salamanders, frogs, toads, snakes, lizards, turtles, tuataras and crocodilians.

Two classes are defined in herpetology: reptiles and amphibians. Both of them are cold-blooded, and are similar in other ways as well. Many amphibians do not have lungs at all, but use their wet skin to breathe. Reptiles have a dry skin, usually protected by scales.



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