Darrel Frost

Curator Emeritus

Professor Emeritus, Richard Gilder Graduate School

+1 (212) 769-5852


  • University of Kansas, Ph.D, 1988
  • Lousiana State University, M.S., 1978
  • University of Arizona, B.S., 1973

Research Interests

Dr. Frost is interested in the evolutionary origin and diversification of amphibians and reptiles, as well as the underlying epistemological issues of knowledge claims in evolutionary biology. He has published widely on these topics, including the notion of species, how to combine different lines of evidence in phylogenetic analysis, and the practical elucidation of the phylogeny of various amphibia and reptile groups.

These efforts have resulted in revised classifications of iguanian lizards (ca. 1000 species), as well as a general classification and revision of all amphibians (ca. 5800 species). The latter was based on the largest phylogenetic tree ever calculated for a vertebrate group and which for the first time provided a comprehensive understanding of the major monophyletic groups of amphibians.

At the other extreme, Dr. Frost maintains a very large online taxonomic catalogue of the world's living amphibians—Amphibian Species of the World—which provides the nomenclatural history, available English names, geographic distribution, and a digest of the relevant literature regarding the taxon. He feels strongly that meticulously prepared catalogues help knit the world's scientific community together by providing workers in the developing world with access to current literature and up-to-date summaries of our knowledge of the biodiversity of living amphibians.


Division of Vertebrate Zoology

Department of Herpetology

Richard Gilder Graduate School

Ambrose Monell Cryo Collection

Amphibian Species of the World Database


2009. Response to the Point of View by Gregory B. Pauly, David M. Hillis, and David C. Cannatella, by the Anuran Subcommittee of the SSAR/HL/ASIH Scientific and Standard English Names List. Herpetologica 65: 136–153 (D.R Frost, R.W. McDiarmid, and J.R. Mendelson, III). 

2009. Further notes on the nomenclature of Middle American roads (Bufonidae). Copeia 2009: 418–419. (D. Frost, J.R. Mendelson, III, and J.B. Pramuk.) 

2008. The type localities of Sistrurus catenatus and Crotalus viridis (Serpentes: Viperidae), with the unraveling of a most unfortunate tangle of names. Copeia, 2008: 421–424. (A.T. Holycross, T.G. Anton, M.E. Douglas, and D. Frost.) 

2008. Is the Amphibian Tree of Life really flawed? Cladistics 24: 385–395 (D. Frost, T. Grant, J. Faivovich, R.H. Bain, A. Haas, C.F.B. Haddad, R.O. de Sa, A. Channing, M. Wilkinson, S.C. Donnellan, C.J. Raxworthy, J.A. Campbell, B.L. Blotto, P. Moler, R.C. Drewes, R.A. Nussbaum, J.D. Lynch, D.M. Green, and W.C. Wheeler.) 

2007. Case 3345. Dendrobatidae Cope, 1865 (1850) (Amphibia, Anura): proposed conservation. Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature, 64: 255-260. (J.M. Savage, C.W. Myers, D.R. Frost, and T. Grant.) 

Teaching Experience

Faculty Appointments

  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, Columbia University, New York, 2001-present
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, City University of New York, 1990-present

Courses Taught
Graduate Advisees

  • Andre de Carvalho, Richard Gilder Graduate School
  • Pedro Peloso, Richard Gilder Graduate School
  • Ed Stanley, Richard Gilder Graduate School
  • Taran Grant, Columbia University
  • Julian Faivovich, Columbia University

Graduate Committees

  • Taran Grant, Columbia University (Chair)
  • Julian Faivovich, Columbia University (Chair)
  • Gina C. Gould, Columbia University/AMNH
  • Monica Toledo-Piza, CUNY/AMNH
  • Abebe Getahun, CCNY/AMNH