Southeast Asian and Australasian Herpetological Collections from the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries in the Zoological Museum of Berlin

  • Aaron M. BauerEmail author
Part of the Topics in Biodiversity and Conservation book series (TOBC, volume 15)


The Zoological Museum in Berlin (Museum für Naturkunde) houses one of the most extensive herpetological collections in Europe. Important material from Southeast Asia and especially the Indo-Australian Archipelago accumulated steadily following the museum’s founding in 1810. The earliest parts of the collection, stemming from the natural history cabinets of Marcus Elieser Bloch, Friedrich Heinrich Graf von Borcke and others, are represented by eighteenth century material, mostly without specific locality. Throughout the early decades of the nineteenth century amphibians and reptiles reached Berlin from a number of collectors, both German and foreign. The most important of these were Fedor Jagor and Eduard von Martens, both contemporaries of Alfred Russel Wallace. Additional important material was obtained by exchange or purchase from museums and natural history dealers from across Europe. Among approximately 625 specimens from Southeast Asia catalogued into the Zoological Museum before about 1870 are specimens representing types of at least 44 nominal species of amphibians and reptiles. The majority of these were described by Wilhelm Peters, director of the Zoological Museum, whose later collaboration with Giacomo Doria in Genoa further strengthened the collection through the addition of many specimens from Sarawak. Berlin Southeast Asian collectors and localities are reviewed and the identity and status of confirmed and putative type material from the region is evaluated.


Zoological Museum Sunda Shelf Nomen Nudum Malay Archipelago Putative Type 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I thank Rainer Günther, Mark-Oliver Rödel and Frank Tillack for their continued support of my historical investigations of the ZMB collection. Indraneil Das kindly invited me to participate in the Wallace 2013 Symposium and urged me to prepare this manuscript. Financial support of this research was provided by the Gerald M. Lemole, M.D. Endowed Chair Fund at Villanova University.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyVillanova UniversityVillanovaUSA

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