AskDefine | Define herpetologist

Dictionary Definition

herpetologist n : a zoologist who studies reptiles and amphibians

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Ancient Greek ἑρπετόν (herpetón)


  1. one who studies reptiles, a reptile specialist

Related terms


one who studies reptiles, a reptile specialist

Extensive Definition

Herpetology (from Greek: ἑρπετόν, herpeton, "creeping animal" and λόγος, logos, "knowledge") is the branch of zoology concerned with the study of amphibians and reptiles.
Herpetology is concerned with poikilothermic, or ectothermic, tetrapods. "Herps" 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 joint 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.
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.
People with an avid interest in herpetology and who keep different reptiles or amphibians, often refer to themselves as "herpers." Many herpetological societies exist today having been formed to promote interest in reptiles and amphibians both captive and wild.


There are many careers in the field of herpetology. These include, but are not limited to, field researches, public and private breeders, zoological staff or curator, college professor, and museum staff or curator.
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.

External links


herpetologist in Catalan: Herpetologia
herpetologist in German: Herpetologie
herpetologist in Spanish: Herpetología
herpetologist in French: Herpétologie
herpetologist in Indonesian: Herpetologi
herpetologist in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Herpetologia
herpetologist in Icelandic: Skriðdýrafræði
herpetologist in Italian: Erpetologia
herpetologist in Hebrew: הרפטולוגיה
herpetologist in Georgian: ჰერპეტოლოგია
herpetologist in Latin: Herpetologia
herpetologist in Lithuanian: Herpetologija
herpetologist in Hungarian: Herpetológia
herpetologist in Dutch: Herpetologie
herpetologist in Japanese: 爬虫両棲類学
herpetologist in Norwegian: Herpetologi
herpetologist in Occitan (post 1500): Erpetologia
herpetologist in Polish: Herpetologia
herpetologist in Portuguese: Herpetologia
herpetologist in Romanian: Herpetologie
herpetologist in Russian: Герпетология
herpetologist in Simple English: Herpetology
herpetologist in Swedish: Herpetologi
herpetologist in Tetum: Herpetolojia
herpetologist in Tajik: Герпетология
herpetologist in Turkish: Herpetoloji
herpetologist in Ukrainian: Герпетологія
herpetologist in Urdu: زاحفیات
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