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The collection of the Herpetological Museum of the University of Antioquia (northwestern Colombia)
expand article infoCarlos E. Ortiz-Yusty, Juan M. Daza, Vivian P. Paez, Brian C Bock
† Grupo Herpetológico de Antioquia, Instituto de Biología, Universidad de Antioquia, Calle 67 # 53–108, Bloque 7–121, AA 1226, Medellín, Colombia
Open Access

Abstract

Northwestern South America harbors one of the richest herpetofauna in the world. The connection among several biogeographic provinces along with climatic and orographic complexity makes this region an important contributor to the Neotropical biodiversity. Despite of this importance, the amphibian and reptile fauna in this area remains largely unknown as few herpetological collections has been made in recent decades. Motivated by this, the Herpetological Museum at the Universidad de Antioquia (Medellín, Colombia) has been increasing the collection in the last 16 years to better understand the herpetofaunal diversity and thus contribute to ecological, systematic, biogeographic and conservation research in the Neotropics. Here, we present the results of this effort and highlight how future collection will impact our understanding of the Neotropical herpetofauna.

Keywords

Antioquia, tropical andes, neotropical, herpetology.

Introduction

The Herpetological Museum of the Universidad of Antioquia (in Spanish: Museo de Herpetología Universidad de Antioquia - MHUA) was created in 1998 with the main goal to generate, perpetuate, organize and provide information and data of amphibian and reptile faunas focusing mostly in northwestern Colombia in the Department of Antioquia and the northern Andes. The 13,343 specimens in the MHUA collection are mainly the result of the fieldwork and identifications of multiple researchers and students associated with the Biology Institute at the Universidad de Antioquia over the last sixteen years. Since its creation, the museum has been administered by the Antioquia Herpetological Group (in Spanish: Grupo Herpetológico de Antioquia - GHA, http://herpetologicodeantioquia.org/) and is currently directed by professors: Vivian P. Páez, Brian C. Bock and Juan M. Daza. Significant contributions to the growth, maintenance and optimal operation of the MHUA collection have also been made by past and current researchers: John J. Estrada, Juan M. Daza, Juan P. Hurtado, Esteban Alzate, Mauricio Rivera, Juan C. Arredondo, Eliana Muñoz, Lina Hinestroza, and Paul D. Gutiérrez-Cárdenas.

During the short history of the GHA and the MHUA, this collection has been a fundamental initiative, where specimens have been collected during research conducted by professors, biologists, and undergraduate and graduate students. It also has been essential for providing reference material for other studies conducted by the GHA research Lab and by other researchers from other national and international institutions. Of the current 13,343 specimens deposited in the MHUA collection, 8,195 are amphibians representing 230 identified species (~29.9% of the species in Colombia) and 5,148 are reptiles representing 223 identified species (~37% of the species in Colombia). Catalog numbers for amphibians range from MHUA A-0001 to MHUA A-8195 and for reptiles from MHUA R-10000 to MHUA R-18540. Specimens data are stored in a digital database including in some cases calls and pictures of the living specimen. Additionally, the museum houses seven holotypes and 142 paratypes of 11 species Table 1) and 240 tadpole lots preserved in formaldehyde and their data recorded on paper (Currently not included in the online database).

Holotypes and Paratypes conserved in the MHUA Herpetological Collection

Holotypes Catalog Number Reference
Dendropsophus norandinus MHUA-A 3781 Rivera-Correa and Gutiérrez-Cárdenas 2012
Dendropsophus manonegra MHUA-A 7336 Rivera-Correa and Orrico 2013
Atelopus nocturnus MHUA-A 5280 Bravo-Valencia and Rivera-Correa 2011
Agalychnis terranova MHUA-A 7316 Rivera-Correa 2013
Hyloscirtus antioquia MHUA-A 7227 Rivera-Correa and Faivovich 2013
Anadia antioquensis MHUA-R 10537 Arredondo 2013
Anolis anoriensis MHUA-R 11719 Velasco et al. 2010
Pristimantis jaguensis MHUA-A 7239 Rivera-Prieto et al. 2014
Paratypes
Pristimantis batrachites MHUA-A 1574-1604, 1775-1780, 2023 Lynch 2003
Dendropsophus norandinus MHUA-A 3768-3780, 3782-3790, 4092, 5274 Rivera-Correa and Gutiérrez-Cárdenas 2012
Dendropsophus manonegra MHUA-A 7337, 7668 Rivera-Correa and Orrico 2013
Atelopus nocturnus MHUA-A 2472, 5279, 5281-5286 Bravo-Valencia and Rivera-Correa 2011
Agalychnis terranova MHUA-A 7317-7320 Rivera-Correa 2013
Hyloscirtus antioquia MHUA-A 1707-1709, 1716, 2645-2647, 4140, 5708-5708, 6012, 6014, 6138-6139, 7228-7232, 7449-7453, 7568 Rivera-Correa and Faivovich 2013
Allobates niputidea MHUA-A 1830, 1831, 2070, 2072, 2147-2151, 2515 Grant et al. 2007
Anadia antioquensis MHUA-R 11254 Arredondo 2013
Anolis anoriensis MHUA-R 11263, 11284, 11720-11728 Velasco et al. 2010
Atractus paisa MHUA-R 14222, 14226, 14235-14254, 14261, 14274 Passos et al. 2009
Pristimantis jaguensis MHUA-A 7240, 7241, 7247-7257 Rivera-Prieto et al. 2014

Sampling methods

Study extent: 

The MHUA is a regional museum covering mostly the northwestern region of Colombia (Fig. 1). Department of Antioquia with an area of 63,326.5 km2 is the most significant political division represented in the MHUA collection with 1,033 sampling localities and 8,544 specimens. Collection effort per locality varies from 1 up to 318 specimens.

Figure 1.

Geographic distributions of specimens deposited in MHUA collection. A: All specimens, Amphibian and Reptiles; B: Amphibians and C: Reptiles collected within Antioquia Province.

Sampling description: 

Specimens deposited in the MHUA are the result of multiple research projects, teaching activities, and donations. As a consequence, no general, single or uniform protocol has been followed to collect and prepare specimens. For example, collections procedures of donated specimens are largely unknown as most of the specimens were found fortuitously. In contrast, specimens from research projects and teaching activities share similar sampling and preparation protocols. Depending on the research goal, capture methods include Visual Encounter Surveys (VES), sampling plots, linear transects, and pitfall traps according to Angulo et al. (2006). All specimens are preserved in wet, alcohol for adults and formaldehyde for tadpoles.

Quality control: 

Before a specimen is deposited in the collection, the museum curatorial staff revises the associated information to the specimen, i.e., locality, coordinates, taxonomy. The minimum information required to include a specimen in the collection is the one needed to publish the data in GBIF. Scientific names follow two standarized taxonomic nomenclatures. For amphibians we follow Frost (2014) and reptile taxonomy follows Uetz (2010).

Geographic coverage

Description: 

The 13,343 specimens deposited in MHUA collection came mainly from the Andean region of northwestern Colombia (Fig. 1 - A). Specimens have been collected from 1524 localities (953 for amphibians and 762 for reptiles), and the maximum number of amphibians (72.7% - 5959 specimens) and reptiles (53.1% - 2757 specimens) has been collected within province of Antioquia (1033 localities) (Fig. 1 - B:C). Antioquia has an area of 62 150 km2, which extends from the Atrato River on the west to the Magdalena River on the east, with a coastline of 240 km on the Gulf of Urabá on the Caribbean coast and two parallel mountain ranges (Cordillera Occidental and Cordillera Oriental) that bisect the department, attaining elevations up to 4 000 m.

MHUA contains specimens from 26 provinces within Colombia: Amazonas, Antioquia, Atlantico, Atlántico, Bolivar, Bolívar, Boyaca, Boyacá, Caldas, Caquetá, Cauca, Cesar, Choco, Chocó, Cordoba, Córdoba, Cundinamarca, Guajira, La Guajira, Loreto, Magdalena, Meta, Nariño, Norte de Santander, Quindío, Risaralda, San Andres y Providencia, Santander, Sucre, Tolima, Valle del Cauca, Vaupes and Vichada (Fig. 1). The biomes better represented in MHUA corresponds to Magdalena Valley montane forests with 6533 specimens (4749 amphibians and 1784 reptiles) and Magdalena-Urabá moist forests with 3029 specimens (1179 amphibians and 1850 reptiles; Fig. 2). Altitudinally, specimens in MHUA represents since sea level up to 4000 m. a. s., however, the majority of collections have been made in low and mid lands (below 2000 m a. s.; Fig. 3).

Figure 2.

Biomes represented in MHUA collection (Suppl. material 1).

Figure 3.

Altitudinal distribution of specimens in MHUA collections (Suppl. material 2).

Coordinates: 

4°20'9.6''S and 11°3'18''N Latitude; 78°12'0''W and 67°29'20.4''W Longitude.

Taxonomic coverage

Description: 

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Classes: Amphibia, Reptilia

Orders: Anura, Caudata, Gymnophiona, Crocodylia, Sauria, Serpentes, Squamata, Testudines

Taxa included:
Rank Scientific Name Common Name
kingdom Animalia Animals
subkingdom Eumetazoa
phylum Chordata
subphylum Vertebrata
class Amphibia Amphibians
class Reptilia Reptiles
order Crocodylia
order Sauria
order Serpentes
order Squamata
order Testudines
order Anura
order Caudata
order Gymnophiona
family Aromobatidae
family Brachycephalidae
family Bufonidae
family Caeciliidae
family Centrolenidae
family Ceratophryidae
family Craugastoridae
family Dendrobatidae
family Eleutherodactylidae
family Hemiphractidae
family Hylidae
family Leiuperidae
family Leptodactylidae
family Microhylidae
family Plethodontidae
family Ranidae
family Strabomantidae
family Plethodontidae
family Caeciliidae
family Rhinatrematidae
family Alligatoridae
family Amphisbaenidae
family Anguidae
family Corytophanidae
family Dactyloidae
family Gekkonidae
family Gymnophthalmidae
family Hoplocercidae
family Iguanidae
family Phyllodactylidae
family Polychrotidae
family Scincidae
family Sphaerodactylidae
family Teiidae
family Tropiduridae
family Anomalepididae
family Boidae
family Colubridae
family Dipsadidae
family Elapidae
family Leptotyphlopidae
family Tropidophiidae
family Typhlopidae
family Viperidae
family Colubridae
family Dactyloidae
family Dipsadidae
family Gekkonidae
family Gymnophthalmidae
family Iguanidae
family Scincidae
family Sphaerodactylidae
family Teiidae
family Viperidae
family Chelonidae
family Chelydridae
family Dermochelidae
family Emydidae
family Geoemydidae
family Kinosternidae
family Podocnemididae

Temporal coverage

Notes: 

The MHUA data cover specimens collected from 1971 to 2013. Specimens collected before 1998, when the museum was founded, are mostly donations and sampling efforts of independent researchers. Most specimens have entered the collection after the year 2000 thanks to research projects in our laboratory and teaching activities (Fig. 4).

Collection data

Collection name: 
Museo de Herpetología Universidad de Antioquia
Collection identifier: 
MHUA
Specimen preservation method: 
Ethanol 70%

Usage rights

Use license: 
Creative Commons CCZero

Data resources

Data package title: 
Museo de Herpetología Universidad de Antioquia
Number of data sets: 
2
Data set name: 
Colección de anfibios - Museo de Herpetología de la Universidad de Antioquia
Character set: 
UTF-8
Data format: 
Darwin Core Archive
Data format version: 
1.0
Column label Column description
occurrenceID A unique identifier for the record within the data set or collection.
type The nature or genre of the resource
language A language of the resource
institutionID An identifier for the collection or dataset from which the record was derived
institutionCode The name (or acronym) in use by the institution having custody of the object(s) or information referred to in the record
collectionCode The name, acronym, coden, or initialism identifying the collection or data set from which the record was derived
basisOfRecord The specific nature of the data record
catalogNumber An identifier for the record within the data set
recordedBy A list of names of people, groups, or organizations responsible for recording the original Occurrence
preparations A list of preparations and preservation methods for a specimen
eventDate The date-time (year) during which an collection occurred
fieldNumber An identifier given to the event in the field
continent The name of the continent in which the Location occurs
country The name of the country or major administrative unit in which the Location occurs
countryCode The standard code for the country in which the Location occurs
stateProvince The name of the next smaller administrative region than country in which the Location occurs
county The full, unabbreviated name of the next smaller administrative region than stateProvince in which the Location occurs
locality The specific description of the place. Less specific geographic information can be provided in other geographic terms
minimumElevationInMeters The lower limit of the range of elevation (altitude, above sea level), in meters
maximumElevationInMeters The upper limit of the range of elevation (altitude, above sea level), in meters
decimalLatitude The geographic latitude (in decimal degrees, using the spatial reference system given in geodeticDatum) of the geographic center of a Location. Positive values are north of the Equator, negative values are south of it. Legal values lie between -90 and 90, inclusive
decimalLongitude The geographic longitude (in decimal degrees, using the spatial reference system given in geodeticDatum) of the geographic center of a Location. Positive values are east of the Greenwich Meridian, negative values are west of it. Legal values lie between -180 and 180, inclusive
geodeticDatum The ellipsoid, geodetic datum, or spatial reference system (SRS) upon which the geographic coordinates given in decimalLatitude and decimalLongitude as based
georeferenceRemarks Notes or comments about the spatial description determination, explaining assumptions made in addition or opposition to the those formalized in the method referred to in georeferenceProtocol
identificationQualifier A brief phrase or a standard term ("cf.", "aff.") to express the determiner's doubts about the Identification
scientificName The full scientific name, with authorship and date information if known
kingdom The full scientific name of the kingdom in which the taxon is classified
phylum The full scientific name of the phylum or division in which the taxon is classified
class The full scientific name of the class in which the taxon is classified
order The full scientific name of the order in which the taxon is classified
family The full scientific name of the family in which the taxon is classified
genus The full scientific name of the genus in which the taxon is classified
specificEpithet The name of the first or species epithet of the scientificName
taxonRank The taxonomic rank of the most specific name in the scientificName
collectionID An identifier for the institution having custody of the object(s) or information referred to in the record
Data set name: 
Colección de reptiles - Museo de Herpetología de la Universidad de Antioquia
Character set: 
UTF-8
Data format: 
Darwin Core Archive
Data format version: 
1.0
Column label Column description
occurrenceID A unique identifier for the record within the data set or collection
type The nature or genre of the resource
language A language of the resource
institutionID An identifier for the collection or dataset from which the record was derived
institutionCode The name (or acronym) in use by the institution having custody of the object(s) or information referred to in the record
collectionCode The name, acronym, coden, or initialism identifying the collection or data set from which the record was derived
basisOfRecord The specific nature of the data record
catalogNumber An identifier for the record within the data set
recordedBy A list of names of people, groups, or organizations responsible for recording the original Occurrence
preparations A list of preparations and preservation methods for a specimen
eventDate The date-time (year) during which an collection occurred
fieldNumber An identifier given to the event in the field
continent The name of the continent in which the Location occurs
country The name of the country or major administrative unit in which the Location occurs
countryCode The standard code for the country in which the Location occurs
stateProvince The name of the next smaller administrative region than country in which the Location occurs
county The full, unabbreviated name of the next smaller administrative region than stateProvince in which the Location occurs
locality The specific description of the place. Less specific geographic information can be provided in other geographic terms
minimumElevationInMeters The lower limit of the range of elevation (altitude, above sea level), in meters
maximumElevationInMeters The upper limit of the range of elevation (altitude, above sea level), in meters
decimalLatitude The geographic latitude (in decimal degrees, using the spatial reference system given in geodeticDatum) of the geographic center of a Location. Positive values are north of the Equator, negative values are south of it. Legal values lie between -90 and 90, inclusive
decimalLongitude The geographic longitude (in decimal degrees, using the spatial reference system given in geodeticDatum) of the geographic center of a Location. Positive values are east of the Greenwich Meridian, negative values are west of it. Legal values lie between -180 and 180, inclusive
geodeticDatum The ellipsoid, geodetic datum, or spatial reference system (SRS) upon which the geographic coordinates given in decimalLatitude and decimalLongitude as based
georeferenceRemarks Notes or comments about the spatial description determination, explaining assumptions made in addition or opposition to the those formalized in the method referred to in georeferenceProtocol
identificationQualifier A brief phrase or a standard term ("cf.", "aff.") to express the determiner's doubts about the Identification
scientificName The full scientific name, with authorship and date information if known
kingdom The full scientific name of the kingdom in which the taxon is classified
phylum The full scientific name of the phylum or division in which the taxon is classified
class The full scientific name of the class in which the taxon is classified
order The full scientific name of the order in which the taxon is classified
family The full scientific name of the family in which the taxon is classified
genus The full scientific name of the genus in which the taxon is classified
specificEpithet The name of the first or species epithet of the scientificName
taxonRank The taxonomic rank of the most specific name in the scientificName
collectionID An identifier for the institution having custody of the object(s) or information referred to in the record
Figure 4.

Temporal distribution of the specimen records in the MHUA collections (Suppl. material 3).

Acknowledgements

We thank the University of Antioquia for the infrastructure. Several other institutions have funded the increase of the specimen collection: Corantioquia, Isagen, Instituto Alexander von Humboldt. Ministerio del Medio Ambiente have granted collecting permits. The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International funded catalog digitalization. During all these years, undergraduate and graduate students have been fundamental to the maintance of the collection. We finally thank Diogo Provete and Edgar Lehr who provided very helpful and insightful comments on the manuscript.

Author contributions

Conceived and designed the manuscript: CEOY, JMD. Analyzed the data: CEOY, JMD. Contributed to the writing of the manuscript: CEOY, JMD, VPP, BCB.

References

Supplementary materials

Suppl. material 1: Biomes represented in MHUA collection
Authors:  Carlos Ortiz-Yusty
Data type:  Microsoft Excel file
Suppl. material 2: Altitudinal distribution of specimens in MHUA.
Authors:  Carlos Ortiz-Yusty
Data type:  Microsoft Excel file
Suppl. material 3: Temporal distribution of the specimen records in the MHUA collections
Authors:  Carlos Ortiz-Yusty
Data type:  Microsoft Excel file