Non-Specimen Based Collections

INHS Frozen Tissue Collection 

We also maintain a tissue collection that contains high quality tissues from a portion of our vouchered specimens, mostly those collected after 1998. Our online database will deliver limited location information. Contact the curator for more detailed location data.

unvouchered frozen tissue collection

In addition to the tissue collection described above, we maintain a separate tissue collection for which we do not have corresponding voucher specimens. These tissues are from amphibians and reptiles that are threatened or endangered or represent a large series of animals from long-term research conducted in the Phillips Lab at INHS. Examples include several hundred blood samples from our Eastern Massasasuga (Sistrurus c. catenatus) research and several large series of freshwater turtles (Emydoidea blandingiiTrachemys scriptaChrysemys pictaPseudemys concinnaTerrapene carolina) and Ozark Hellbenders, Cryptobranchus alleganiensis. Contact the curator for more details.

The non-inhs Illinois Herp database

This database contains over 27,000 amphibian and reptile records from Illinois excluding those in the INHS Amphibian and Reptile Collection.  The majority of these records were obtained from other collections throughout the United States (e.g., American Museum of Natural History, the University of Kansas Museum of Natural History, etc.).  These records were entered exactly as they were received from other collections.  Other records in this database are unvouchered, coming from literature records (e.g., Garman’s 1892 ” A Synopsis of Reptiles and Amphibians of Illinois from the Illinois Laboratory of Natural History Bulletin), Herp Review, newspaper articles, the Illinois Natural Heritage Database, field notes from individuals in the Phillips Lab and other reliable individuals. Only a small portion of these records are accompanied by a digital image (see below).  These unvouchered records are given the acronym “Unvouch”, followed by a number.  The numbers for this series start at 25,000; e.g., Unvouch 27293 is a Clonophis kirtlandii record with a photo, submitted by Evan Menzel & Tim Hunkapiller. I have not personally verified the identifications of all of the records in this database (especially the 24,000 records from other collections), and a condition of my receipt of records from many of the collections and the Illinois Natural Heritage Database included a “do not distribute” clause, therefore, this database is not available to the public.  However, we can give summary statistics from the database to aid in directing museum visits and we can give full details for most unvouchered records (except those from the Illinois Natural Heritage Database).


 We maintain a digital image collection.  We accept digital images of amphibians and reptiles from anywhere in the world.  Images are kept in two separate databases; one for Illinois and a second for non-Illinois.  Images in the non-Illinois collection are catalogued as INHS Year.letter, e.g., INHS 2011a.

The Illinois Image Database was recently overhauled and the catalogue system was changed.  The original system used the INHS acronym followed by a year and a number, e.g. INHS 2012.01.  This database was merged with the Non-INHS IL Herp Database (see above) and images are now cross-referenced to the Unvouch number (and in rare cases with the original museum acronym as we have images of a few specimens from other collections).  I have assembled a table giving the Unvouch equivalents of the images catalogued under the old INHS Year.number system.  The old numbering system will remain cross-referenced in our database.