Live reptile, amphibian show is June 29

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An update to a Nebraska field guide has spawned a celebration of reptiles and amphibians.

Herpetologist Daniel Fogell, a doctoral student in the School of Natural Resources, recently completed an update to "A Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Nebraska," originally written in 1942. To celebrate the release, a Reptile Revelry Reception will be 4 to 6 p.m., June 29 at Hardin Hall. The event, which is free and open to the public, will include a live animal display, door prizes, refreshments and free parking.

As part of the field guide update, Fogell took all new photographs of the creatures. He also added several new species of amphibians and reptiles found in Nebraska and updated their geographical distributions. All records in the guide are based on voucher specimens in museums.

"Every kid who ever wants to explore the natural areas in his or her neighborhood needs a field guide," Fogell said. "Nebraska was lacking a field guide to amphibians and reptiles. Now we have one."

The guide is ideal for identifying creatures in the wild because it fits in a pocket. It features two pages on each of the 62 species of amphibians or reptiles that live in Nebraska. A page of text includes a description, natural history, habitat and distribution of the species. A facing page of photos helps visually identify species and locate the counties in the state where a species is found.

The guide also includes the legal status of each species, a glossary, and a map of the habitats found across the state. A "life list" showcases each species of snake, lizard, frog, toad, salamander and turtle found in Nebraska.

The School of Natural Resources is the publisher of the guide and is donating a library copy to every county in the state.

"I want every kid, student, naturalist, biologist, and nature center to have a copy of this book so that they can positively identify any amphibian and reptile they encounter," Fogell said. "The maps will help them determine whether the sighting is expected, or if it is a new locality for the species. And once a new locality is discovered, my hope is that someone will send me a photograph, so we can better understand distributions. Given the changing climate and land uses, it is very important to know where the animals are now, and what kinds of changes they can tolerate."

Fogell teaches biology and related subjects at Southeast Community College in Lincoln. Editorial and financial support for printing and publishing the book came from the Conservation and Survey Division at SNR, the Nebraska Herpetological Society, the Nebraska Reptile Breeder's Expo, the Center for North American Herpetology, and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The guide is available from the Nebraska Maps and More store on the first floor of Hardin Hall, online at or, or at other regional bookstores. Books can also be ordered by calling 472-3471.

For more information, contact Fogell at

- By Kelly Helm Smith, School of Natural Resources

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