Janalee P. Caldwell, Ph.D.

Photo of Janalee P. Caldwell, Ph.D.

Janalee P. Caldwell, Ph.D.

Professor and Curator Emeritus


I was Curator of Amphibians at the Sam Noble Museum and professor in the Biology Department at OU from 1990 to 2011. My research focused on the ecology, behavior, and systematics of amphibians, particularly dendrobatid and aromobatid frogs. In addition to curatorial duties, I was involved in designing museum exhibits, teaching undergraduates, and mentoring graduate students in Master’s and Ph.D. programs. In 2004, I received the University of Oklahoma Regents’ Award for Superior Accomplishment in Research and Creative Activity. I served as President of the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles in 2001–2002.

I am co-author of the textbook, Herpetology: An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles, Fourth Edition, with Dr. Laurie Vitt. I continue to collaborate on various research projects with American and Brazilian colleagues.


Caldwell, Janalee P. 1989. Structure and behavior of Hyla geographica tadpole schools, with comments on the classification of group behavior in tadpoles. Copeia 1989:934–944.

Vitt, L. J., J. P. Caldwell, H. M. Wilbur, and D. C. Smith. 1990. Viewpoint: Amphibians as harbingers of decay. Bioscience 40:418.

Caldwell, J. P., and C. W. Myers. 1990. A new poison frog from Amazonian Brazil, with further revision of the quinquevittatus group of Dendrobates. American Museum Novitates 2988:1–21.

Caldwell, Janalee P. 1991. A new species of toad in the genus Bufo from Pará, Brazil, with an unusual breeding site. Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia 37:389–400.

Pechmann, J. H. K., D. E. Scott, R. D. Semlitsch, J. P. Caldwell, L. J. Vitt, and J. W. Gibbons. 1991. Declining amphibian populations: The problem of separating human impacts from natural fluctuations. Science 253:892–895.

Caldwell, Janalee P. 1992. Diversity of reproductive modes in anurans: Facultative nest construction in gladiator frogs, pp. 85–97. InHamlett, W.C. (ed.). Reproductive Biology of South American Vertebrates. Springer-Verlag, New York.

Vitt, Laurie J., and Janalee P. Caldwell. 1993. Ecological observations on cerrado lizards in Rondônia, Brazil. Journal of Herpetology 27:46–52.

Caldwell, Janalee P. 1993. Brazil nut fruit capsules as phytotelmata: Interactions among anuran and insect larvae. Canadian Journal of Zoology 71:1193–1201.

Vitt, L. J., P. A. Zani, J. P. Caldwell, and R. D. Durtsche. 1993. Ecology of the whiptail lizard Cnemidophorus deppii on a tropical beach. Canadian Journal of Zoology 71:2391–2400.

Vitt, L. J., and J. P. Caldwell. 1994. Resource utilization and guild structure of small vertebrates in the Amazon forest leaf litter. Journal of Zoology, London, 234:463–476.

Caldwell, Janalee P. 1994. Natural history and survival of eggs and early larval stages of Agalychnis calcarifer (Anura: Hylidae). Herpetological Natural History 2:57–66.

Vitt, L. J., P. A. Zani, J. P. Caldwell, and E. Carrillo. 1995. Ecology of Kentropyx pelviceps (Sauria: Teiidae) in lowland rain forest of Ecuador. Canadian Journal of Zoology 73:691–703.

Vitt, L. J., P. A. Zani, and J. P. Caldwell. 1995. The behavioral ecology of Tropidurus hispidis on isolated rock outcrops in Amazonia. Journal of Tropical Ecology 12:81–101.

Caldwell, Janalee P. 1996. The evolution of myrmecophagy and its correlates in dendrobatid frogs (Anura: Dendrobatidae). Journal of Zoology, London 240:75–101.

Caldwell, Janalee P. 1996. Diversity of Amazonian anurans: The role of systematics and phylogeny in identifying macroecological and evolutionary patterns, pp. 73-88. In A. C. Gibson (ed.). Neotropical Biodiversity and Conseration. Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden Miscellaneous Publication No. 1, Los Angeles, CA.

Caldwell, Janalee P. 1997. Pair bonding in the spotted poison frog, Dendrobates vanzolinii, in the Amazon Basin. Nature 385:211.

Vitt, L. J., J. P. Caldwell, P. A. Zani, and T. A. Titus. 1997. The role of habitat shift in the evolution of lizard morphology: Evidence from tropical Tropidurus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 94:3828–3832.

Vitt, L. J., P. A. Zani, J. P. Caldwell, M. C. Araújo, and W. E. Magnusson. 1997. Ecology of whiptail lizards (Cnemidophorus) in the Amazon region of Brazil. Copeia 1997:745–757.

Caldwell, Janalee P., and Maria Carmozina de Araújo. 1998. Cannibalistic interactions resulting from indiscriminate predatory behavior in tadpoles of poison frogs (Anura: Dendrobatidae). Biotropica 30:92–103.

Vitt, L. J., T. C. S. Avila-Pires, J. P. Caldwell, and V. R. L. Oliveira. 1998. The impact of individual tree harvesting on thermal environments of lizards in Amazonian rain forest. Conservation Biology 12:654–664.

Caldwell, J. P., and M. S. Hoogmoed. 1998. Species account of Allophryne ruthveni. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles.

Caldwell, J. P., and L. J. Vitt. 1999. Dietary asymmetry in leaf litter frogs and lizards in a transitional northern Amazonian rain forest. Oikos 84:383–397.

Caldwell, J. P., and Verônica R. L. Oliveira. 1999. Determinants of biparental care in the spotted poison frog, Dendrobates vanzolinii(Anura: Dendrobatidae). Copeia 1999:565–575.

Vitt, L.J., J. P. Caldwell, H. M. Wilbur, and D. C. Smith. 1990. Viewpoint: Amphibians as harbingers of decay. Bioscience 40:418. Reprinted in 2000 in Nature’s Fading Chorus: Classic and contemporary Writings on Amphibians, Island Press.

Vitt, L. J., and J. P. Caldwell. 2001. Effects of logging on reptiles and amphibians of tropical forests, p. 239–259. In R. A. Fimbel, A. Grajal, and J. G. Robinson (eds.). The Effects of Logging on Tropical Forests. Columbia University Press, New York.

Lima, A. P., and J. P. Caldwell. 2001. A new Amazonian species of Colostethuswith sky blue digits. Herpetologica 57:180–189.

Cooper, W. E., Jr., L. J. Vitt, J. P. Caldwell, and S. F. Fox. 2001. Foraging modes of some American lizards: Relationships among measurement variables and discreteness of modes. Herpetologica 57:65–76.

Lima, A. P., J. P. Caldwell, and G. M. Biavati. 2002. Territorial and reproductive behavior of an Amazonian dendrobatid frog, Colostethus caeruleodactylus. Copeia 2002:44–51.

Caldwell, J. P., A. P. Lima, and C. Keller. 2002. Redescription of Colostethus marchesianus (Melin, 1941) from its type locality. Copeia 2002:157–165.

Caldwell, J. P., A. P. Lima, and G. M. Biavati. 2002. Descriptions of tadpoles of Colostethus marchesianus and Colostethus caeruleodactylus (Anura: Dendrobatidae) from their type localities. Copeia 2002:166–172.

Cooper, W. E., Jr., J. P. Caldwell, L. J. Vitt, V. Pérez-Mellado, and T. A. Baird. 2002. Food chemical discriminations and correlated evolution between plant diet and plant chemical discrimination in lacertiform lizards. Canadian Journal of Zoology 80:655–663.

Caldwell, J. P., and A. P. Lima. 2003. A new Amazonian species of Colostethus with a nidicolous tadpole. Herpetologica 59:218–233.

Cooper, W. E., V. Pérez-Mellado, T. D. Baird, T. A. Baird, J. P. Caldwell, and L. J. Vitt. 2003. Effects of risk, cost, and their interaction on optimal escape by nonrefuging Bonaire whiptail lizards, Cnemidophorus murinus. Behavioral Ecology 14:288–293.

Colli, G. R., J. P. Caldwell, G. C. Costa, A. M. Gainsbury, A. A. Garda, D. O. Mesquita, C. M. M. R. Filho, A. H. B. Soares, V. N. Silva, P. H. Valdujo, G. H. C. Vieira, L. J. Vitt, F. P. Werneck, H. C. Wiederhecker, and M. G. Zatz. 2003. A new species of Cnemidophorus(Squamata, Teiidae) from the Cerrado biome in Central Brazil. Occasional Papers of the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History 14:1–14.

Baird, T. A., L. J. Vitt, T. D. Baird, W. E. Cooper, Jr., J. P. Caldwell, and V. Perez-Mellado. 2004. Social behavior and sexual dimorphism in the Bonaire whiptail, Cnemidophorus murinus (Squamata: Teiidae): The role of sexual selection. Canadia Journal of Zoology 181:1781–1790.

Caldwell, J. P., and M. C. Araújo. 2004. Historical and ecological factors influence survivorship in two clades of phytotlem-breeding frogs (Anura: Bufonidae, Dendrobatidae). In: Ecology and Evolution of Phytotlem-Breeding Anurans. R. M. Lehtinen (ed.). Miscellaneous Publications, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan 193:11–21.

Caldwell, J. P., and L. J. Vitt. 2004. Historical Perspectives: Charles C. Carpenter. Copeia 2004:704–708.

Vitt, L. J., J. P Caldwell, S. S. Sartorius, W. E. Cooper, Jr., T. A. Baird, T. D. Baird, and V. Pérez-Mellado. 2005. Pushing the edge: Extended activity as an alternative to risky body temperatures in an herbivorous teiid lizard (Cnemidophorus murinus: Squamata). Functional Ecology 19:152–158.

Caldwell, J. P., and M. C. Araújo. 2005. Amphibian faunas of two eastern Amazonian rainforest sites in Pará, Brazil. Occasional Papers of the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History 16:1–41.

Cooper, W. E., Jr., L. J. Vitt, J. P. Caldwell, and S. F. Fox. 2005. Relationships among foraging variables, phylogeny, and foraging modes, with new data for nine North American lizard species. Herpetologica 61:250–259.

Shepard, D. B., and J. P. Caldwell. 2005. From foam to free-living: Ecology of larval Leptodactylus labyrinthicus. Copeia 2005:803–811.

Caldwell, J. P. 2005. A new Amazonian species of Cryptophyllobates. Herpetologica 61:449–461.

Grant, T., D. R. Frost, J. P. Caldwell, R. Gagliardo, C. R. B. Haddad, P. J. R. Kok, D. B. Means, B. P. Noonan, W. E. Schargel, and W. C. Wheeler. 2006. Phylogenetic systematics of dart-poison frogs and their relatives (Amphibia: Athesphatanura: Dendrobatidae). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 299:1–262. (pdf)

Vitt, L. J., D. B. Shepard, J. P. Caldwell, G. H. C. Vieira, F. G. R. França, and G. R. Colli. 2007. Living with your food: geckos (Gymnodactylus carvalhoi) in termitaria of Cantão. Journal of Zoology (London) 272:321–328.

Goldberg, S. R., C. R. Bursey, J. P. Caldwell, L. J. Vitt, and G. C. Costa. 2007. Gastrointestinal helminths from six species of frogs and two species of lizards, sympatric in Pará State, Brazil. Comparative Parasitology 74:327–342.

Funk, W. C., J. P. Caldwell, C. E. Peden, J. M Padial, I. de la Riva, and D. C. Cannatella. 2007. Tests of biogeographic hypotheses for diversification in the Amazonian forest frog, Physalaemus petersi. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 44:825–837.

Caldwell, J. P., and D. B. Shepard. 2007. Calling site fidelity and call structure in a Neotropical toad, Rhinella ocellatus (Anura: Bufonidae). Journal of Herpetology 41:611–621.

Vitt, L. J., G. R. Colli, J. P. Caldwell, D. O. Mesquita, A. A. Garda, and F. G. R. França. 2007. Detecting variation in microhabitat use in low-diversity lizard assemblages across small-scale habitat gradients. Journal of Herpetology 41:654–663.

Caldwell, J. P. 2007. Book Review: Lima, A. P., W. E. Magnusson, M. Menin, L. K. Erdtmann, D. J. Rodrigues, C. Keller, and W. Hödl. 2006. Guide to the Frogs of Reserva Adolpho Ducke—Guia de Sapos da Reserva Adolpho Ducke: 1–168, color photographs 269. Attema Design Editorial, Manaus. Phyllomedusa 6:73–76.

Costa, G. C., C. Wolfe, D. B. Shepard, J. P. Caldwell, and L. J. Vitt. 2008. Detecting the influence of climatic variables on species’ distributions: A test using GIS niche-based models along a steep longitudinal environmental gradient. Journal of Biogeography 35:647–656.

Vitt, L. J., D. B. Shepard, G. H. C. Vieira, J. P. Caldwell, G. R. Colli, and D. O. Mesquita. 2008. Ecology of Anolis nitens brasiliensis in Cerrado Woodlands of Cantão. Copeia, 2008:144–153.

Cooper, W. E., Jr., J. P. Caldwell, and L. J. Vitt. 2008. Escape responses of cryptic frogs (Anura: Brachycephalidae: Craugastor) to simulated terrestrial and aerial predators. Behaviour 145:25–38.

Cooper, W. E., Jr., J. P. Caldwell, and L. J. Vitt. 2008. Effective crypsis and its maintenance by immobility in Craugastor frogs. Copeia 2008:527–532.

Funk, W. C., A., Angulo, J. P. Caldwell, M. J. Ryan, and D. C. Cannatella. 2008. Comparison of morphology and calls of two cryptic species of Physalaemus (Anura: Leptodactylidae). Herpetologica 64:290–304.

Cooper, W. E., Jr., J. P. Caldwell, and L. J. Vitt. 2009. Conspicuousness and vestigial escape behaviour by two dendrobatid frogs,Dendrobates auratus and Oophaga pumilio. Behaviour 146:325–349.

Cooper, W. E., Jr., J. P. Caldwell, and L. J. Vitt. 2009. Risk assessment and withdrawal behavior by two species of aposematic poison frogs,Dendrobates auratus and Oophaga pumilio on forest trails. Ethology 115:311–320.

Santos, J.C. L. A. Coloma, K. Summers, J. P. Caldwell, R. Ree, and D. C. Cannatella. 2009. Amazonian amphibian diversity is primarily derived from Late Miocene Andean lineages. PLoS Biology 7:448–461.

Goldberg, S. R., C. R. Bursey, J. P. Caldwell, and D. B. Shepard. 2009. Gastrointestinal helminthes of six sympatric species ofLeptodactylus from Tocantins State, Brazil. Comparative Parasitology 76:258–266.

Lima, A. P., J. P. Caldwell, and C. Strussmann. 2009. Redescription of Allobates brunneus (Cope) 1887 (Anura: Aromobatidae: Allobatinae), with a description of the tadpole, call, and reproductive behavior. Zootaxa 1988:1–16.

Lima, A. P., J. P. Caldwell, G. Biavati, and A. Montanarin. 2010. A new species of Allobates (Anrua: Aromobatidae) from Paleovárzea forest in Amazonas, Brazil. Zootaxa 2337:1–17.

Caldwell, J. P. 2010. Book Review: Lost Worlds: Adventures in the Tropical Rainforest. The Quarterly Review of Biology 85:97–98.


Vitt, Laurie J., and Caldwell, Janalee P. 2009. Herpetology: An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles. Ed. 3. Academic Press/Elsevier.

Zug, George R., Laurie J. Vitt, and Janalee P. Caldwell. 2001. Herpetology: An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles. Academic Press.