Standard Common and Current Scientific Names for North American Amphibians, Turtles, Reptiles, & Crocodilians, sixth edition

The Center for North American Herpetology

STANDARD COMMON AND CURRENT SCIENTIFIC NAMES FOR NORTH AMERICAN AMPHIBIANS, TURTLES, REPTILES, AND CROCODILIANS. Sixth Edition (2009) by Joseph T. Collins and Travis W. Taggart remains the most recent and most up-to-date such reference for North America, and is available gratis online at:

The first edition of this authoritative compilation, published in 1978, listed 454 species of amphibians, turtles, reptiles, and crocodilians, and was quickly adopted nationwide as a source for common names for these North American (north of Mexico) animals, names that could be consistently used worldwide to avoid confusion, both in spelling and during conversation.

This sixth edition, published in printed form on 5 April 2009, lists 621 species of amphibians, turtles, reptiles, and crocodilians in the United States and Canada, an increase of 167 species (27%) since 1978 and an increase of 232 species (37%) since 1956, which demonstrates clearly how much the diversity of these animals in North America was previously underestimated.

The standard common names in the fourth edition (1997) of this list were used exclusively in the well-known "Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America" (third edition expanded, 1998, Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston), were adopted exclusively in the "The Frogs and Toads of North America" (published by Houghton Mifflin; Elliott et al. 2009) and will be adopted for the forthcoming fourth edition of the Peterson Field Guide, which has the widest distribution of any book ever written about these creatures.

The pdf version of this sixth edition has been updated since the print version was issued on 5 April 2009 (thus far, over 2,500 copies of this latest edition have been requested and/or mailed worldwide). We anticipate that the next (seventh) edition of this list will be published in 2014.

The CNAH web site, which is the largest academic herpetological web site in the world, has adopted the common and scientific names of this sixth edition. The CNAH web site has had over 953,000 visitors since it was launched on 1 January 1998, and recorded over 1,000,000 hits in calendar 2010 alone.