Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability

Searching the CAS Herpetology Collection Catalog

  General Remarks
  Input Types on Form
    Text BoxSingle-Select List BoxMulti-Select List BoxCheck Box, Radio Buttons
  Taxonomic Fields
    ClassOrder-SuborderFamilyGenusSpeciesSubspeciesType Status
  Geographic Fields
    Continent/OceanCountryState/ProvCountyIsland GroupIsland; ElevationLocality
  Specimen Characteristics, Identifiers, and Collection Data
    SexLife-StageTissuesMuseumCatalog NumberCollectorCollector's NumberYear Collected
  Display Options
    Page StyleRecord Style

General Remarks

The query form enables you to retrieve specimen records by virtually any combination of fields present in the database.

Query feedback. The query parameters entered on the form are summarized in query language at the top of every result page. Read the query statement to be sure that the query being processed is what you intended. Some browsers have a tendency to "remember" parameters from previous queries. Press the Clear button between queries to clear previously used parameters.

Number of records. The number of records retrieved by the query is reported immediately after the query feedback (near the top of the page) while the results are formatted. If the number returned is much larger than you expected or want to wait for, press the "STOP" button on your browser to cancel the query. You can create a more restrictive query by adding additional criteria to the form.

Retrieval Limit. The number of records retrieved is limited to 1,000 to prevent "excessive resource consumption" by a single user and to prevent browser crashes; large result sets can cause some computers to lock up. Note that 1,000 records can amount to more than 1.5 MBs of data. If you need a result set larger than 1,000 records we will be happy to prepare a file for you and make it available via FTP. Please contact Jens Vindum or Stan Blum for assistance.

Input Types On The Form

Text Box

a text box
A simple text box accepts a string of alpha-numeric characters and compares it against values in the database. The input string must match the entire value, unless wildcard characters are used. Wildcard characters are the percent sign (%) and the question mark (?). The percent sign matches zero to many characters, whereas the question mark matches one and only one character. For example, searching the species field with "rhino%" will match "rhinoceratus" and "rhinostoma".
Single-Select List Box

a single-select
list box
A single-select list box displays all the values that occur in the database, but allows only one value to be used in a given query. The default value, "<any>", causes the field to be ignored.

Multi-Select List Box

a multi-select
list box
A multi-select list box displays all the values that occur in the database and allows multiple values to be used in a given query. Use Ctrl-Click to toggle individual selections on and off; i.e., hold the Control key down (Windows), or the Command key (Macintosh) when you click on a value. Note, clicking a value without holding down the control key (i.e., a simple click) clears all other selections in the list box and leaves the most recently clicked value as the only selection. Note also that some browsers "remember" selected values between queries even though the selected values are not visible in (i.e., have scrolled off) the list box. Press the Clear button to clear the form.
Check Box
a check box
A check box allows a particular criterion to be turned on or off (ignored).
Radio Button
a pair of radio buttons
A radio button must have one and only one selection chosen out of two or more choices.

Taxonomic Fields

A single-select list box. The two values, Amphibia and Reptilia, are self-explanatory. This field may be most useful to researchers doing faunal studies within particular geographic region.
Order / Suborder
A single-select list box. The nine values used in the catalog are listed in the table below, as are the corresponding numbers of lower taxa and specimens.
  Scientific Name of
Order / Suborder
Common Name # Families # Genera # Species # Specimens
  Amphisbaenia Worm lizards 4 17 50 3,962
  Anura Frogs and Toads 42 275 1,747 105,354
  Caudata Salamanders and Newts 10 51 240 24,429
  Crocodylia Crocodiles 3 8 18 94
  Gymnophiona Caecilians 8 17 38 767
  Rhynchocephalia   1 1 1 9
  Sauria Lizards 26 386 2,333 140,079
  Serpentes Snakes 13 364 1,454 38,840
  Testudines Turtles 12 80 199 3,695
  Unplaced         2,344
  Total 119 1,198 6,091 319,757
A text box. The scientific name of the family in which a specimen is classified.
A text box. The genus name applied to a specimen.
A text box. The specific epithet of the scientific name currently applied to the specimen. Wild cards are allowed. The taxonomy used in the database may be slightly different from usage elsewhere. For example, species named after a person may end in "i" or "ii" and are commonly inconsistent across collections. If part of the taxon name is in question, use an percent sign (%) as a wildcard, e.g. "boyl%" instead of "boylii". Note that type specimens are identified according to current classification rather than the name for which they are the type. Names fixed by the type are listed in the Remarks field.
A text box. The subspecific epithet of the scientific name currently applied to the specimen. Wild cards are allowed.
Type Status
A single-select list box. The values used in the catalog and the corresponding number of specimens are listed in the table below.
  Type Status
  Holotype 456
  Lectotype 3
  Neotype 20
  Paralectotype 25
  Paratype 8,036
  Syntype 33

Geographic Fields

Because the values in several geographic fields contain a suffix (e.g., "Co.", "Ids.", "Id.", "Div.", "Prov.", "Region", etc.) using just the place name as an exact match criterion will find no matching records. These fields are therefore configured to append a wildcard (%) automatically to the any value entered in the State, County, Island Group and Island fields.

Continent / Ocean
A multi-select listbox. Indicates the largest natural geographic where the specimen was collected.
A multi-select listbox. The primary political unit where the specimen was collected.
State / Province
 A simple text box. The name of a secondary geo-political unit, typically a state or province, where the specimen was collected. If the unit-type is not a state or province, an abbreviation of the unit-type is usually appended; e.g., "Dist." for District, or "Pref." for Prefecture. A trailing wildcard (%) is automatically appended to any entered value.
A simple text box. The name of the tertiary political unit -- i.e., county, parish, district, etc -- when known. Most names in this field have an abbreviation appended indicating the type of political unit; e.g., "San Francisco Co.", "Shannan Pref.", etc. A trailing wildcard (%) is automatically appended to any entered value.
Island Group
A simple text box. for the name of Island groups (e.g., "Andaman Ids."). A trailing wildcard (%) is automatically appended to any entered value.
A simple text box. for the name of an Island (e.g., "Mindanao Id."). A trailing wildcard (%) is automatically appended to any entered value.
Elevation Fields: min - max
Simple numeric inputs enable specification of an elevation range; i.e., lower (min) and upper (max) bounds. Ranges can be open-ended (one of the fields left blank).
The textual description of where the specimen was collected; often includes one or more references to a named place and an offset -- direction and distance from the named place. The contents of this field are full text indexed and can be searched for a single word or phrase; e.g., "Carmel" or "Carmel Valley".

Specimen Identifiers, Characteristics, and Collection Data

A single-select listbox.
Life Stage
A single-select listbox. The values used in the database are as follows:
  Code Definition
  Egg(s) fertilized or unfertilized; not yet hatched
  Emb (embryo) in live-bearing species before birth; usually isolated by dissection
  Larva between hatching and metamorphosis
  Juvenile with an adult-like body form (not larval), but smaller and sexually immature


between juvenile and adult
  Adult fully grown and/or sexually mature
A checkbox. The checked state limits query results to specimens that have associated tissue samples.
Museum (abbreviation)
A single-select listbox. The values are:
  Value Definition
  CAS California Academy of Sciences

CAS-SU (Amp)

CAS Stanford University (Amphibians)
  CAS-SU (Rep) CAS Stanford University (Reptiles)
Catalog Number
A simple text box. All catalog numbers are integers. A single value or an inclusive range of values can be entered. Wildcards are not supported.
A simple text box. Collector names are formatted with initials first (when known) then last name; e.g., "J.R. Slevin" or "J.R. Slevin and E.S. King". The search will automatically append both leading and trailing wildcards; e.g., entering "Slevin" will search for "%Slevin%".
A single-select list box. Indicates the preservative in which the specimen is currently stored. Values: Alc - alcohol (ethanol); C&S - cleared and stained; Dry - dried skin or skeletal material; Form - formalin.
Collector's Number
A simple text box. Collector's numbers are typically parsed into a prefix and an incremented identifier -- typically an integer, but sometimes alphanumeric. Both the prefix and "number" are stored and searched as strings; wild cards are allowed. Results are displayed with a hyphen (-) separating the prefix and "number". In rare cases, a hyphen is contained as the last character of the prefix.
Year Collected
A numeric interval selector; can be used to specify: 1) a single year, 2) the upper or lower boundary (inclusive) of an open ended range of years, and 3) an inclusive range of years.
  Enter Meaning
  1950 Collected in 1950
  1966- Collected in 1966 or later
  -1906 Collected in 1906 or earlier
  1970-1979 Collected between 1970 and 1979 (inclusive)

Display Options

Page Style - Multiple Pages/Single Page
A pair of radio buttons. Choose Multiple Pages if you would like the results displayed 20 per page, one page at a time. If you would like all the results displayed on one page, choose Single Page.
Record Style - Brief Records/Full Records
A pair of radio buttons. Brief Records will display only a few fields of data for each record. Full Records will display all of the data for each record. Be warned that choosing Single Page and Full Records can take a long time to download if there are a large number of records.
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