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A Guide to PresenJation Techniques for Amphibians and Reptiles

George R. Piunl





EOITOR'S NOTE This is the ffrst of a new series of Miscellaneous Public.tlons entitled "Herpetological Circulars". desfgned to provfde b.sic lnfonnation for the amateur or beginning herpetologist. Museums. zoos, and laboratories wl1l find 1t useful to distribute In response to Inquiriesconcerning: current procedures us~ in preserv1 ng amphibians and reptiles t maintenance of collections; what lnfo_tlon is recorded In field notes; how to ship specimens; color preservation. Brand names (and conmon names) of reagents, fixatives, paper a.nd the address of the source of supply, are cited when .ppUcable. A Sp.nlsh edition Is available. Single copies are available at US SI.0eeach( for orders of 25 or including postage. Orders moy be sent to Or. Henri SeIbert, OeparUlent of Zoology. Ohio Universfty. Athens, Ohio 45701. U.S.A.



PubUshed in 1973 by the SOCIETY FOR THE STUDY OF AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES Second Printing (1977) MISCElLANEOUS PUBLICATIONS Herpetologlc.l Clrcullr ~. 1 George R.PI51nl. Editor Biology DeportolenrUniversIty of Kan5ls. L.....ence. Kansas 66045 (U.S.A.) A Hst of other Society publications. including those of The Ohio Herpetological Society. racsimlle Reprlmth in Herpetology. Herpetol0gtcal Review••nd the ~atl~ogpe of Mierlcan ~ and Reptiles. w1l1 e sent on request y t e ubITcatlons Secretary. Henri C. Seibert. DeportMnt of Zoology. Ohio University. Athens.Ohio 4S701, U.S.A. _rship in the Society Includes subscription to the Circullr sertes, r.csilll1e Reprint series, the Society's technlcel joumal (.loum.1 of Hirpetol!!ff)' .nd • newsletter (Herr,tol091c.l ReYiew). Cur~gullr dues are 0.00 (S8.00 for students~ SUStllnlng $15.00, ContrIbuting S20.DO. Institutlon.1 subscriptions are S20.00. All 'nquirles about _ership or subscrIptIons should beaddressed to the TrelSurer, Henri C. SeIbert (.ddress aboYe).
(C) 1973 Soci.t, for the Study of A8ph1b1.a.u and Reptile••

George R. Pisani
Biology Department

University of Kansas lawrence, Kansas 66045


Patricia May and Tom Swearingen Museum of Natural History University of Kansas

Olier the years. several infonnative works descr1bing the preservation
Tableof Contents Host of these have been intended for relatively limited distribution by the institutions or indi­ viduals publishing them. This fact. coupled with new laws pertaining to syringes and certain drugs used for 1c.111ing specimens, warrants an additional treatment of the subject. This article is an attempt to com­ bine a complete survey of current techniques with a page size that theindividual collector can conveniently carry in the field. In an age when so many wl1d species and areas of suitable habitat are at of amphibians and reptiles have been published.

Introduction . . Field Notes Ki 11 i ng of Specimens Fixing . Domestic. Shipment. International Shipment Storage and Labelling Color Presenation Litera ture C; ted


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tne th.reshold of extermination, itseems advisable at the outset to include a
plea for conservation in this booklet. from certain areas within their ranges. Current museum collections contain In these instances, it is a needless I am not referring to ex.cellent samples of various North American species of reptiles and amphibians was te to co 11 ect and preserve add it i ana 1 rna tel" i a 1 when thi s will not add apprecia.bly toour k.nowledge of these creatures. such collectlng as may be associated with the compiling of a synoptic teaching collection by a school or to collection of specimens needed for




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particular aspect of research. but rather to the capture and preservation There are numerous geographic areas, including several

of animals simply to amass a collection...
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