Editors and Curators of the Reptile Database

Editors organize and coordinate the curation of photos and the herpetological literature.

The photo editors will receive photos that we receive, reformat, label, and process them, if necessary, for display in the Reptile Database.

Taxonomic and literature editors (curators) will receive papers about their area of expertise (or they find such papers themselves) and extract key data that needs to be incorporated into the database (e.g. new locality records, name changes and other taxonomic changes). More details below.

Let us know if you want to become an editor of the Reptile Database.

The following people currently act as editors:

Photo editors

Paul Freed photo editor (snakes)
Sven Mecke photo editor (lizards)

Taxonomic editors

Mark O'Shea Snakes of New Guinea
Scott Thomson turtles
Dan Fryer colubrids

Geographic and other editors

Thasun Amarasinghe Indonesia
Jeff Ettling Armenia
Igor Doronin Russia
Andrew Durso Freshwater reptiles
Ryan Ellis Australia
Daniel Escoriza Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia
Eleanor R. Gladding USA (Florida, Georgia, Arizona etc.)
Hinrich Kaiser South-East Asia
Sebastian Lotzkat Panama + Costa Rica
Chia-Wei Lu Taiwan
Shai Meiri Israel
Scott Rush SE US (Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana)
Amr Salah Egypt
Vivek Sharma India
John Steffen reptile coloration, behavioural ecology, physiology, macro-evolution

Instructions for literature editors / curators:

Literature Editors have two different (and separable) responsibilities, i.e. you can chose one or both of these:

A. Collecting bibliographic information. This simply involves the collection of new publications by following journals and sending bibliographic information in a structured format to the database. Publication editors can follow certain journals or publishers, e.g. via email Table of Contents, websites, Twitter feeds etc. If they find publications relevant to the Reptile Database, their bibliographic information will be submitted to the Reptile Database in a tabular format (Excel spreadsheet) with 5 columns, so we can easily import this information into the database:

  1. author (e.g. "Streicher, Jeffrey W.; Jay P. McEntee, Laura C. Drzich, Daren C. Card, Drew R. Schield, Utpal Smart, Christopher L. Parkinson, Tereza Jezkova, Eric N. Smith and Todd A. Castoe")
  2. year (e.g. "2016)
  3. title (e.g. "Genetic surfing, not allopatric divergence, explains spatial sorting of mitochondrial haplotypes in venomous coralsnakes.")
  4. source (e.g."Evolution 70 (7): 1435–1449, DOI: 10.1111/evo.12967,)
  5. URL (e.g."http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/evo.12967/abstract")
  6. email (of the corresponding or any other author).

B. Curation of the literature. Curators read papers and send key information to the database in a structured format, so it can be integrated into the current data. This involves primarily taxonomically relevant information (e.g. new names, synonyms, distribution etc.), but may also include any other information, e.g. on reproduction, diet, or others. We currently do not systematically collect information on behavior or ecology although such data may be included in the future. Let us know if you are interested in these subjects.


1. Checklists and surveys. These are the easiest cases: just compare a checklist to the checklist you obtain from the Reptile Database. For instance, Rovito et al. 2015 have a checklist for a part of Costa Rica (Rovito et al 2015 First survey of the amphibians and reptiles of the Nectandra Cloud Forest Reserve, Alajuela, Costa Rica. Check List 11 (2): 1570.

You can get a checklist of Costa Rican herps by just searching the database for distribution = Costa Rica. You would then have to compare that list to the one in the Rovito paper. Alternatively, you can search the database for the province discussed in the paper (Alajuela). Currently the database has only 4 species listed for this province, although the paper lists 14. That is, you would send us an email saying, "please add the province Alajuela to the following Costa Rican species: A, B, C, ...".

2. Phylogenetics papers. You would send us a list of species that are included in a phylogenetic analysis, i.e. included in some sort of phylogenetic tree. If the authors make taxonomic changes, tell us what has been changed, e.g. "SILER et al. 2013 and GUO et al. 2013 synonymized Dinodon with Lycodon ". Make sure to send us a list of species, e.g. the species of Dinodon explicitly synonymized and/or included in the phylogenetic study. Often authors do NOT provide species lists but simply synonymize genera wholesale (which is fine if there is a consensus what belongs to the genus, but often this is not the case).

3. Biology papers. If papers make statements about the biology, e.g. reproduction, let us know what they say. For instance, the reproductive biology of Atractus reticulatus could be summarized as follows:

Reproduction: oviparous. Sexual maturity: males: 8-10 months (SVL ca. 198 mm) and females: 11-12 months (SVL ca. 242 mm). The reproductive period begins in late August, with clutches laid in November, December and January, and hatching occurring from January to March. clutch size: 1 to 3 (Lucchesi-Balestrin & Di-Bernardo 2005).


Lucchesi-Balestrin & Di-Bernardo (2005) Reproductive biology of Atractus reticulatus (BOULENGER 1885) (Serpentes, Colubridae) in Southern Brazil. Herp. J. 15: 195-199

Note that this paper also provides information about sizes and other aspects of biology, which should be extracted as well.

4. Photos. Even if you are not a photo editor your help with photos regarding certain taxa or geographic areas is important.

Last updated: 2 Sep 2016