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IB 464 Herpetology


4 Credit Hours


This course emphasizes the diversity, classification, and evolutionary relationships among living amphibians and reptiles. Secondarily, we will explore the ecology, behavior and biogeography of these groups.


Prerequisites for this course are IB 302 or consent of instructor. There are two 1 hour and 20 minute lectures and one 3 hour lab each week. Two lab sections are usually offered. The labs will emphasize identification and classification, including fossil history, using preserved specimens and replicas, with students responsible for being able to identify all Illinois specimens to species and various non-Illinois species to genus or family. In addition, each student will design a research project on a species or topic of interest, write a grant proposal to support the proposed research, and present the project to the lab section in a 15 minute PowerPoint presentation. Quizzes will be given during labs.


There will be three short-essay/ short answer exams in lecture, the third, given during finals week, is cumulative. There will be three, short-answer lab exams. The third, given on the final lab of the semester, will be cumulative.


Several field trips, scheduled during the lab period, will be offered. One of these will be a day-trip to visit behind-the-scenes at the St. Louis Zoo herp house. Later in the semester, we will have a 3-day weekend trip to southern Illinois. Students are urged to attend as many field trips as possible.


Additional information about your course instructors is available on this web site and in Illinois Compass. Please feel free to contact Professor Phillips at any time during the semester, preferably by email ( or stop by his office at 185 Natural Resources Bldg.