Historical collection of snakes from Brazil by herpetologist and biogeographer Paul Müller (1940–2010), deposited at the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig, Germany
Natural history collections are constituted of a wide variety of biological specimens preserved around the world. They represent a continuous source of knowledge and play a fundamental role in the synthesis on the diversity, composition, distribution, and conservation of species. Paul Müller (1940–2010) was a German zoologist who collected amphibians and reptiles in Brazil between 1964 and 1976, with the aim of increasing knowledge about the Brazilian fauna and understanding the general patterns of Neotropical biogeography. We examined and re-determined all snakes found in Paul Müller’s collection, deposited at the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig (ZFMK), and also reconstructed the itinerary of his journeys through Brazil. We identified 556 snake specimens belonging to 80 species from six families (Aniliidae, Boidae, Colubridae, Dipsadidae, Elapidae, and Viperidae). Müller collected snake specimens from all regions of Brazil, although most are from the south (76% of the species) and southeast (14% of the species). This relevant material
can contribute to historical, biogeographic and conservation studies of the Brazilian snake fauna.