Herpetology book cover


An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles

The fourth edition of the textbook Herpetology covers the basic biology of amphibians and reptiles, with updates in nearly every conceptual area. Not only does it serve as a solid foundation for modern herpetology courses, but it is also relevant to courses in ecology, behavior, evolution, systematics, and morphology.

Examples taken from amphibians and reptiles throughout the world make this book a useful herpetology textbook in several countries. Naturalists, amateur herpetologists, herpetoculturists, zoo professionals, and many others will find this book readable and full of relevant natural history and distributional information.

Amphibians and reptiles have assumed a central role in research because of the diversity of ecological, physiological, morphological, behavioral, and evolutionary patterns they exhibit. This fully revised edition brings the latest research to the reader, ranging over topics in evolution, reproduction, behavior and more, allowing students and professionals to keep current with a quickly moving field.

Hardbound, 776 Pages

Published: June 2013

Imprint: Academic Press

ISBN: 978-0-12-386919-7


  • "In this fourth edition of their herpetology textbook, Vitt and Caldwell have broken the subject down into six main parts comprised of 22 chapters. The first three parts cover evolutionary history, reproductive schemes, and physiology… Part four covers behavioral topics such as foraging, defense strategies, and communication, while part  five is devoted to ecology, conservation and geographical distribution of species. Part six breaks down the classification system used for amphibians and reptiles covering all major subgroups  such as frogs, salamanders, snakes, etc…"--Reference & Research Book News, December 2013
    "Many of the new insights into the understanding of reptile and amphibian biology have been updated in this edition resulting in its increased size and making it a great value… This book will be an excellent addition to the library of anyone interested in herpetology."--Journal of American Veterinary Medicine Association, December 15, 2013
    "Is this the best herpetology textbook available? Yes. Will I use it in my one semester course for upper-level undergraduates? Yes, this book will challenge them and would certainly also be suitable for a graduate course. Is it worth having students buy the new (4th) edition over the 3rd? Yes, updates to the content and to the references cited and enhancement of illustrations are worth it."--Phyllomedusa, December 2013


  • Part I Evolutionary History

    1. Tetrapod Relationships and Evolutionary Systematics

    2. Anatomy of Amphibians and Reptiles

    3. Evolution of Ancient and Modern Amphibians and Reptiles

    Part II Reproduction and Reproductive Modes

    4. Reproduction and Life Histories

    5. Reproductive Modes

    Part III Physiological Ecology

    6. Water Balance and Gas Exchange

    7. Thermoregulation, Performance, and Energetics

    Part IV Behavioral Ecology

    8. Spacing, Movements, and Orientation

    9. Communication and Social Behavior

    10. Foraging Ecology and Diets

    11. Defense and Escape

    Part V Ecology, Biogeography, and Conservation Biology

    12. Ecology

    13. Biogeography and Phylogeography

    14. Conservation Biology

    Part VI Classification and Diversity of Amphibians

    15. Caecilians

    16. Salamanders

    17. Frogs

    Part VII Classification and Diversity of Reptiles

    18. Turtles

    19. Crocodylians

    20. Sphenodontidans

    21. Squamates (Snakes and Lizards)

    Part VIII Data Sources



    Taxonomic Index

    Subject Index


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