BySternberg Museum


Sternberg Museum of Natural History (FHSM) Herpetology Collection

The Herpetology Collection at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Fort Hays State University (FHSM) contains more than 16,000 recent catalogued specimens. FHSM is a major repository for voucher, reference, and research specimens from the Great Plains and beyond. Fossil amphibians, reptiles and turtles are maintained in the Division of Vertebrate Paleontology.


The origin of the FHSM Herpetology Collection began shortly after the arrival of Dr. Eugene Fleharty in 1962 from the University of New Mexico. He assembled a collection of amphibians, reptiles, and turtles from the southwest US and Great Plains for use in research and teaching activities. Through 1990, he and his field biology students grew the collection to nearly 6,000 specimens.

A renewed interest in building upon the herpetology collections began in earnest in 2001 and over the intervening years, the curators have brought the collection up to its current level. Additionally, since 2001 the collection has become a regionally significant tissue repository, as nearly all voucher specimens have ethanol preserved tissues available for use in molecular and genetic studies.
Acronyms through the years:
pre 1998 – FHSKSM
1998 – 2010 – MHP; Museum of the High Plains
2010 –  FHSM; Fort Hays State University, Sternberg Museum of Natural History

Loan Policy

Data Access

The collection may be accessed at: http://webcat.fhsu.edu/ksfauna/sternberg/, or VertNet

Terms of Use

The Division of Herpetology specimens, databases, and images are owned and copyrighted by the Sternberg Museum of Natural History or licensed to it.  The data and images may be used freely by individuals and organizations for purposes of basic research, education and conservation.  These data and images may not be used for commercial or for-profit purposes without the express written consent of the Sternberg Museum of Natural History, and may not be repackaged, resold, or redistributed in any form. Use of the data or images in publications, dissertations and theses, or other scientific reports, should be accompanied by an acknowledgement of the Division of Herpetology, Sternberg Museum of Natural History, as the source for the information.  Please provide the Department with separates of articles resulting from the use of these data or images.  This helps us to document the use of specimens as “vouchers” in the literature.  It also helps us to justify continued funding for the collections so that these resources remain available into the future.

Staff Publications

Publications that utilized FHSM herpetology specimens

The FHSM Herpetology Staff is available for outreach programs at various levels (Grade School through High School, and adult organizations). Call Education Director James Leiker (785) 639-5249-for more information.


Visiting the collections is encouraged when possible, especially when dealing with type and/or rare specimens. Please contact the appropriate Curator and Collections Manager for more information.


Kansas Herpetofaunal Atlas
Kansas Herpetological Society