The Reptile Database is a scientific database that collects taxonomic information on all living reptile species (i.e. no fossil species such as dinosaurs). The database focuses on species (as opposed to higher ranks such as families) and has entries for all currently recognized >10,000 species, although there is usually a lag time of up to a few months before newly described species become available online. The database collects scientific and common names, synonyms, literature references, distribution information, type information, etymology, and other taxonomically relevant information.
The database was founded in 1995 as EMBL Reptile Database when the founder, Peter Uetz, was a graduate student at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany. Thure Etzold had developed the first web interface for the EMBL DNA sequence database which was also used as interface for the Reptile Database. In 2006 the database moved to The Institute of Genomic Research (TIGR) and briefly operated as TIGR Reptile Database until TIGR was merged into the J Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) where Uetz was an Associate Professor until 2010. Since 2010 the database has been maintained on servers in the Czech Republic under the supervision of Peter Uetz and Jirí Hošek, a Czech programmer.
As of May 2015, the Reptile Database lists more than 10,000 species (including ~2,800 subspecies) in about 1180 genera (see figure), more than 35,000 literature references and about 7,000 photos. The database has constantly grown since its inception with an average of ~120 new species described per year over the past decade.
Relationship to other databases
The Reptile Database has been a member of the Species 2000 project that has produced the Catalogue of Life (CoL), a meta-database of more than 150 species databases that catalog all living species on the planet. The CoL provides taxonomic information to the Encyclopedia of Life (EoL). The Reptile Database also collaborates with the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS), the citizen science project iNaturalist, and has links to the IUCN Redlist database. The NCBI taxonomy database links out to the Reptile Database. Within Wikipedia (actually Wikimedia), a template has been created to reference species and higher taxa to the database.
- Uetz, P. & Etzold, T. (1996). "The EMBL/EBI Reptile Database". Herpetological Review. 27 (4): 174–175.
- Uetz, P., J. Goll & J. Hallermann (2007). "Die TIGR-Reptiliendatenbank". Elaphe. 15 (3): 22–25.
- Abraham, S.A. (Jan 9, 2015). "VCU professor manages comprehensive database to map reptilian lineage". Across the Spectrum. Virginia Commonwealth University.
- Uetz, P. (2010). "The original descriptions of reptiles" (PDF). Zootaxa (2334): 59–68.
- Catalogue of Life Source databases, accessed Aug 2015