AskDefine | Define herpetology

Dictionary Definition

herpetology n : the branch of zoology concerned with reptiles and amphibians

User Contributed Dictionary



  • IPA: /ˌhɝ.pɛ̆.ˈtɑ.lŏ.ʤi/
  • her•pe•tol•o•gy


From ἑρπετόν + -logy (suffix indicating a field of study or work)


  1. the branch of biology dealing with reptiles (Reptilia) or amphibians.




the branch of biology dealing with reptiles

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


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

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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