Fishes/Herptiles Collections

The Department of Biological Sciences houses a diverse research collection of specimens from Manitoba and around the world.

Curator: Margaret Docker:

Specimen Spotlight

MZH 328: Phrynosoma hernandesi/Phrynosoma douglassii

alternate text alternate text alternate text

Collected by S. G. Sealy at 49 00N and 110 27W, 02- Aug- 1963 (photographs by J. Stacey)

Phrynosoma hernandesi (once known as Phyrnosoma douglassii) is often called “horned toad” due to its stocky body form and horny spines. It can be difficult to find in its grasslands habitat due to its cryptic coloration. For information on the general biology of Short-horned Lizards, see this article by National Geographic ( or this one at the Animal Diversity Web (

According to Parks Canada, Phrynosoma hernandesi is found in only ten locations in Alberta and Saskatchewan and has been designated “at risk”. For information on the status and the recovery strategy of the Eastern Short-horned Lizard in Alberta, see information from Environment Canada (

Collection Story

In 1963, Professor Emeritus Spencer Sealy was an undergraduate student at the University of Alberta. That summer he worked as an assistant to the game biologists of the Alberta Fish and Game Wildlife Division, spending several days at the Manyberries range station. The area, a short distance from the border with Montana and Saskatchewan, was rich in dinosaur fossils.

On August 2nd, biologist George Mitchell took Sealy to a short grass prairie area “ in the middle of nowhere. ” In addition to the scorpions they had hoped to observe, the pair found this specimen which was collected and preserved. Sealy added the specimen to the Stewart-Hay collection when he started his faculty position here at the University of Manitoba.

alternate text

Professor Emeritus Spencer Sealy