Loans will take at least a month to process after approval is granted. Please plan accordingly with your request.
Loans of all herpetological specimens for computed tomography (CT) and diffusible iodine-based contrast-enhanced (diceCT) scans require a formal request (cover letter on institutional letterhead and a completed Specimen Loan Request Form).
Researchers may search our online database and send informal loan inquiries to collection management staff to identify suitable specimens before submitting a formal request. The request should include sufficient information about the research project and the intended use of the specimens so that an evaluation of the request can be made by the curatorial staff in the Division of Amphibians and Reptiles.
Graphic files (jpg, pdf) of the signed letterhead request and Specimen Loan Request form may be sent as an e-mail attachment. Requests are reviewed by the curators or the collection managers.
Requests should include the following:
A brief description of the research that includes purpose, techniques, lab facilities, investigators involved and their experience, and expected significance of the study. The description should explicitly address how the specimen will be kept from drying out during the scanning process.If the proposed research requires diceCT, the request must include a description of how the material will be stained and destained. The only staining method currently approved by The Division is diceCT and the only approved destaining method is leaching (i.e., no chemical destaining). Specimens may be brought up to a maximum of 98% EtOH during the staining process.
A list of material requested including specific taxa, number of individuals, catalog numbers and/or localities (if relevant).
Shipping instructions must include an appropriate address (a street address is necessary for shipping through private carrier) and contact phone number.
Recipients must acknowledge in their request that they agree to the conditions listed under Terms below.
Note that loans may not be transferred from the borrower to another individual without prior written permission from the Division of Amphibians and Reptiles. Similarly, specimens may not be transported to a different address without previous approval. For example, if the specimen is to be scanned at a facility that is not your home institution (e.g., Friday Harbor) the loan request must be co-signed by the borrower and a responsible person at the scanning facility. If the loan will be shipped directly to the scanning facility, the formal request should be submitted by a responsible person at the facility.
Specimen loans for CT scans are made under the following conditions:
Specimens will be used only for the purposes stated in the Description of Research. The Description of Research may not be amended nor may the material be used for other purposes without written permission from the person authorizing the loan/transfer.
Neither the specimens nor any part or product thereof may be given or loaned to another laboratory or investigator without written consent from the person authorizing the loan/transfer.
No commercial use will be made of the digital data, nor license or patent applied for based on the specimens or any information derived from them without written consent from the Division of Amphibians and Reptiles.
Recipients will report the USNM (the approved abbreviation for referencing specimens at the National Museum of Natural History) catalog number for cataloged vouchers in every publication and data archive (e.g. MorphoSource record) that results from use of the specimens. The National Museum of Natural History will be explicitly acknowledged in each publication that is based in part or entirely on data derived from our specimens.
We request reprints (or digital copies) of each paper, or one copy of any book, that results from research on USNM specimens.
Images/data derived from USNM specimens will be deposited in MorphoSource or other public data archives and the researcher will provide the Division of Amphibians and Reptiles with a spreadsheet linking MorphoSource numbers to USNM specimens.
Agreement to any other stipulations made as a condition of a particular transfer or exchange.
All borrowers must agree to abide by this loan policy.
Approval will be based on the following criteria:
Scientific merit and feasibility of the project
Rarity of the species and representation in our collections
Condition of the specimen(s)
Qualifications of the investigators
Status of outstanding loans
Previous loan history.
Type specimens may be loaned at the discretion of the curators. In general, types are loaned only when required for resolution of nomenclatural problems and for no more than a two-month period. In rare cases, type material may be loaned for non-taxonomic purposes (e.g. comparative morphology) when no other materials for the taxon are available (including at other institutions). Requests for diceCT scans or other staining of type materials will not be granted.
Usually, no more than one-half of our total specimens for a species will be lent at a time. The remaining specimens may be requested after return of the first loan.
Due to shipping, customs, and CITES regulations, we may not be able to approve some international loan requests even when they meet the above criteria.
Loan return packages should be returned via courier service such as FedEx or UPS (not the government postal system) to the following address:
Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Museum Support Center
4210 Silver Hill Road
Suitland, MD 20746