PD Dr. Alexander Kupfer

Profilbild Alexander Kupfer




+49 (0) 711 / 8936-144
+49 (0) 711 / 8936-100

Research interests

My research interests circle around the life history evolution and phylogeny of amphibians and reptiles (QT 1). Another research topic focuses on the comparative ecology of the herpetofauna of South-Western Germany (QT 2). Various approaches and methods such as scanning electron microscopy, CT-scanning, histochemistry, stable isotope analysis, determination of paternity using molecular tools and comparative phylogenetic analysis are applied. Collections-based research at the SMNS is a key to successfully run the program.

Herpetology is a discipline of zoology focusing on amphibians (caecilians, frogs and salamanders) but also on “reptiles” (turtles, crocodilians, amphisbaenians, lizards, snakes and sphenodontids). Herpetology usually refers to existant species of amphibians and reptiles, whereas paleoherpetology focuses on fossil taxa. Today’s research in herpetology is interdisciplinary and integrates ecology, morphology, evolutionary biology and phylogeny among other disciplines of zoology.

ResearcherID   Researchgate   academia.edu





  • Hinneberg H, Riedel E-M, Förster K & Kupfer A (2020). Interrelation of colouration and morphological traits in Northern Crested Newts (Triturus cristatus): towards a non-invasive tool for age determination. Salamandra 56: 57-65.
  • Schoch R, Pogoda P & Kupfer A (2020). The impact of metamorphosis on the cranial osteology of giant salamanders of the genus Dicamptodon. Acta Zoologica 101


  • Pogoda P, Kupfer A (2019). High osteological variation in a terrestrial salamander (genus Salamandrina). Zoologischer Anzeiger. 281: 39-43.
  • von Bülow B & Kupfer A (2019). Monitoring population dynamics and survival of Northern Crested Newts (Triturus cristatus) for 19 years at a pond in Central Europe. Salamandra 55: 97-102.
  • Geissler, P, Kupfer A (2019). On the taxonomic status of Lygosoma (Keneuxia) dubium Werner, 1909. Zootaxa 4543: 295–300.
  • Jared C, Mailho-Fontana PL, Jared SGS, Kupfer A, Delabie JHC, Wilkinson M, Antoniazzi MM (2019). Life history and reproduction of the neotropical caecilian Siphonops annulatus (Amphibia, Gymnophiona, Siphonopidae), with special emphasis on parental care. Acta Zoologica 100: 292-302. abstract


  • Pogoda P, Kupfer A (2018). Flesh and bone: An integrative approach towards sexual size dimorphism of a terrestrial salamander (genus Salamandrina). Journal of Morphology 279: 1468–1479. abstract


  • Wartenberg N, Reinhard S, Nöllert A, Staniczek AH, Kupfer A (2017). Caddisfly larvae (Trichoptera: Phryganeidae) as scavengers of carcasses of the common frog Rana temporaria (Amphibia: Ranidae). Salamandra53: 458–460. open access
  • Irisarri I, Baurain D, Brinkmann H, Delsuc F, Sire J-Y, Kupfer A, Petersen J, Jarek M, Meyer A, Vences M, Philippe H. (2017). Phylotranscriptomic consolidation of the jawed vertebrate timetree. Nature Ecology & Evolution1: 1370-1378. abstract 


  • Kupfer A, Maxwell E, Reinhard S & S Kuehnel (2016). The evolution of parental investment in caecilian amphibians: a comparative approach. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 119:4-14. abstract
  • Maerker M, Reinhard S, Pogoda P & AKupfer (2016). Sexual size dimorphism in the viviparous caecilian amphibian Geotrypetes seraphini seraphini (Gymnophiona: Dermophiidae) including an updated overview of sexual dimorphism in caecilian amphibians. Amphibia-Reptilia 37:291-299. abstract


  • Budzik KA, Zuwala K, Kupfer A, Gower DJ & M Wilkinson (2015). Diverse anatomy of the tongue and taste organs in five species of caecilian (Amphibia: Gymnophiona). Zoologischer Anzeiger 257:103-109. abstract
  • Schoch R, Poschmann M & A Kupfer (2015).The salamandrid Chelotriton paradoxus from Enspel and Randeck Maar (Oligocene-Miocene), Germany. Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments 95:77-86. abstract
  • Reinhard S & A Kupfer (2015). Sexual dimorphism in a French population of the Marbled Newt Triturus marmoratus (Urodela: Salamandridae). Salamandra 51: 121-128. open access
  • Geissler P, Poyarkov Jr. NA, Grismer L, Nguyen TQ, An HAT, Neang T, Kupfer A, Ziegler T, Böhme W & H Müller (2015). New Ichthyophis species from Indochina (Gymnophiona, Ichthyophiidae): 1. The unstriped forms with descriptions of three new species and the redescriptions of I. acuminatus Taylor, 1960, I. youngorum Taylor, 1960 and I. laosensis Taylor, 1969. Organsims, Diversity & Evolution 15: 143-174. abstract
  • Reinhard S, Renner S & A Kupfer (2015).Age and sexual dimorphism in Mediterranean salamanders. Zoology 118: 19-26. abstract
  • Reinhard S, Renner S & A Kupfer (2015). Age and fecundity in Salamandra algira. Salamandra 51:19–24.


  • ReinhardS, VoitelS, KupferA (2013). Paternal care in a neotenic salamander. Zoologischer Anzeiger 253: 1-5. abstract


  • Kuehnel S & A Kupfer (2012). Sperm storage in caecilian amphibians. Frontiers in Zoology. 9. open access
  • Kuehnel S, Herzen J, Kleinteich T, Beckmann F & A Kupfer. (2012). Functional reproductive morphology: the female cloaca of an oviparous caecilian amphibian. Acta Zoologica 93: 208-221. abstract


  • Scholz S, Orlik M, Gonwuo LN & A Kupfer (2010). Demography and life history of a viviparous Central-African caecilianamphibian. Journal of Zoology 280: 17-24. abstract


  • Kupfer A (2009). Sexual size dimorphism in caecilian amphibians: analysis, review and future directions. Zoology 112: 362-369. abstract
  • Kupfer A, Kühnel S, Vetter J, Olsson L. (2009). Reproductive and developmental biology of caecilian amphibians. Integrative and Comparative Biology 49(Suppl 1): e95. 


  • Kupfer A, Wilkinson M, Gower DJ, Müller H & R Jehle (2008). Care and parentage in a skin-feeding caecilian amphibian. Journal of Experimental Zoology 309A: 460-467. abstract
  • Wilkinson M, Kupfer A, Marques-Porto R, Jeffkins H,  Antoniazzi MM, Jared C (2008). One hundred million years of skin feeding? extended parental care in a Neotropical caecilian (Amphibia: Gymnophiona). Biology Letters 4: 358-361. abstract


  • Kupfer A, Müller H, Antoniazzi MM, Jared, C, Greven H, Nussbaum RA & M Wilkinson (2006). Parental investment by skin feeding in a caecilian amphibian. Nature 440: 926-929. abstract   watch skin feeding on you tube
  • Kupfer A, Langel R, Scheu S, Himstedt W & M Maraun (2006). Trophic ecology of a tropical aquatic and terrestrial food web: insights from stable isotopes (15N). Journal of Tropical Ecology 22:469-476. abstract
  • Kupfer A, Gaucher P, Wilkinson M & DJ Gower (2006). Passive trapping of aquatic caecilians (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Typhlonectidae). Studies in Neotropical Fauna and Environment 41: 93-96. abstract
  • Kupfer A, Kramer A, Himstedt W & H Greven (2006). Copulation and egg retention in a terrestrial caecilian (genus Ichthyophis). Zoologischer Anzeiger 244: 223-228. abstract


  • Kupfer A, Nabithabatha J & W Himstedt (2005). Life history of amphibians in the seasonal tropics: habitat parameters, community ecology and population structure of a caecilian (genus Ichthyophis). Journal of Zoology 266: 237-247. abstract
  • Kupfer A, Nabithabatha  J & W Himstedt (2005). From water into the soil: trophic ecology of a caecilian amphibian (genus Ichthyophis). Acta Oecologica 21: 95-105. abstract
  • Montero I, Reichle S & A Kupfer (2005). Observations on the reproductive ecology of Siphonops paulensis Boettger, 1892 (Gymnophiona: Caeciliidae) in Bolivia. Salamandra 41: 91-94. open access


  • Kupfer A, Nabithabatha J & W Himstedt (2004). Reproductive ecology of female caecilian amphibians (genus Ichthyophis): a baseline study. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 83: 207-217. abstract
  • Kupfer A & H Müller (2004). On the taxonomy of ichthyophiid caecilians from southern Thailand: A reevaluation of the holotype of Ichthyophis supachaii Taylor 1960 (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Ichthyophiidae). Amphibia-Reptilia 25: 87-97. abstract
  • Kupfer A, Kramer A & W Himstedt (2004). Sex related growth patterns in a caecilian amphibian (genus Ichthyophis). Journal of Zoology 262: 173-178. abstract


  • Kupfer A, Gower DJ & W Himstedt (2003). Field observations on the predation of the caecilian amphibian, genus Ichthyophis (Fitzinger, 1926) by the red-tailed pipe snake Cylindrophis ruffus (Laurenti, 1768). Amphibia-Reptilia 24: 212-215. abstract
  • Gower DJ, Kupfer A, Oommen VO, Himstedt W, Nussbaum RA, Loader SP, Presswell B, Krishna SB, Müller H, Boistel R & M Wilkinson (2002). A molecular phylogeny of ichthyophiid caecilians (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Ichthyophiidae): Out of India or out of South East Asia? Proceedings of The Royal Society London B Biology 269: 1563-1569. abstract
  • Kupfer A & SFM Teunis (2001). Field data on antipredator responses in three species of newts (genus: Triturus). Herpetological Journal 11: 117-120.
  • Kupfer A & S Kneitz (2000). Population ecology of Great Crested Newts (Triturus cristatus) in an agricultural landscape: dynamics, pond fidelity and dispersal. Herpetological Journal 10: 165-172.

Zeitschriften- beiträge (peer-reviewed, non ISI-evaluated, Auswahl)

  • Penell A & A Kupfer (2018). Phänotypische Bestimmung von Kleinen Wasserfröschen und Teichfröschen (Pelophylax lessonae und P. „esculentus“) aus dem westlichen Federsee in Südwestdeutschland. Rana 19: 74-85.
  • Kupfer A & U Hoßfeld (2013). Fortpflanzungstrategien der Amphibien. Praxis der Naturwissenschaften/ Biologie in der Schule 63: 36-40.
  • Kozlik M, Reinhard S, Kupfer A & Hoßfeld (2013). Warum Kriechtiere heute Sauropsida heißen sollten! MNU 66: 113-115.
  • HaacksM, BockD,DrewsA, FlottmannH-J, GeskeC, KupferA, OrtmannD & R Podloucky (2009).Bundesweite Bestandserfassung von Kammmolchen im Rahmen des FFH-Monitorings. Erfahrungen zur Fängigkeit von verschiedenen Wasserfallentypen. Natur & Landschaft 84: 276-280.
  • Kupfer A & M Maraun (2003). Natural History Notes: Ichthyophis kohtaoensis (Koh-Tao Caecilian). Diet. Herpetological Review. 34: 226.
  • Kupfer A (1999). Eine schnelle Methode zur Längenmessung von Kammolchen (Triturus cristatus) im Freiland. Zeitschrift für Feldherpetologie 6: 233-234.
  • Kupfer A (1998). Wanderstrecken einzelner Kammolche (Triturus cristatus) in einem Agrarlebensraum. Zeitschrift für Feldherpetologie 5: 238-242.
  • Breuckmann A & A Kupfer (1998). Zur Umsiedlung einer Kammolchpopulation (Triturus cristatus) im nordöstlichen Ruhrgebiet: ein Rückblick nach zehn Jahren. Zeitschrift für Feldherpetologie 5: 209-218.
  • Mölle J & A Kupfer (1998). Amphibienfang mit der Auftauchfalle: Methodik und Evaluierung im Freiland. Zeitschrift für Feldherpetologie 5: 219-228.
  • Kupfer A (1997). Phänologie und Metamorphosegrößen juveniler Kammolche, Triturus cristatus: ein Vergleich von zwei benachbarten Populationen. Zeitschrift für Feldherpetologie 4: 141-155.
  • Vences M, Kupfer A, Llorente GA, Montori A & MA Carretero (1997). Description of the larval stages of the Pyrenean frog, Rana pyrenaica Serra-Cobo, 1993 (Amphibia: Ranidae). Bolletino del Museo Regionale di Scienze NaturaliTorino 15: 1-23.
  • Kupfer A (1995). Bemerkungen zum Abwehrverhalten des Bergmolches Triturus alpestris alpestris im Freiland. Zeitschrift für Feldherpetologie 2: 85-90.


  • Thiesmeier B, Kupfer& Jehle R(2009): Der Kammmolch - Ein Wasserdrache in Gefahr, 2nd. Edition. Bielefeld (Laurenti).
  • Thiesmeier B & A Kupfer (2000): Der Kammmolch - Ein Wasserdrache in Gefahr. Bochum (Laurenti).


  • Kupfer A B v Bülow (2011). Nördlicher Kammmolch. In Arbeitskreis Amphibien Reptilien NRW (Hrsg.). Handbuch der Amphibien und Reptilien Nordrhein-Westfalens, pp. 376-406. Laurenti, Bielefeld.
  • Kühnel S, Reinhard S & A Kupfer (2010).Evolutionary reproductive morphology of amphibians: an overview. Bonn Zoological Bulletin 57: 119-126.
  • Schlüpmann M & Kupfer A (2009). Methoden der Amphibienerfassung: ein Überblick. In Hachtel M, Schlüpmann M, Thiesmeier B & K Weddeling (Hrsg.). Methoden der Feldherpetologie. Supplement der Zeitschrift für Feldherpetologie 15: 7-84.
  • Kupfer A (2007). Sexual size dimorphism in amphibians: an overview.In Fairbairn DJ, Blanckenhorn WU & T Szekely (eds) Sex, size and gender roles: evolutionary studies of sexual size dimorphism. Oxford, Oxford University Press. abstract
  • Kupfer A (2006). Caecilians. In Brockhaus Animal Enzyclopedia. Volume 4, Amphibians & Reptiles, pp. 158-171. Bibliographisches Institut & F.A. Brockhaus AG, Mannheim (in German).
  • Kupfer A (2001). A review on the monitoring methods for great crested newts (Triturus cristatus). In Krone A (ed) The great crested newt (Triturus cristatus): ecology and distribution. Natur und Text, Rangsdorf (in German with English summary).
  • Kupfer A & B v Bülow (2001). Great crested newts (Triturus cristatus) in Nordrhine-Westfalia: distribution, habitats und threats. In Krone A (ed) The great crested newt (Triturus cristatus): ecology and distribution, pp. 83-91. Natur und Text, Rangsdorf (in German with English summary).
  • Kupfer A & S Kneitz (1999). Colonisation processes and population dynamics of amphibians in an agricultural landscape. In Boothby J (ed) Ponds and pond landscapes of Europe, pp. 161-168. John Moores University, Liverpool



  • Researcher and curator herpetology State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart (SMNS)


  • Interim professorship at the University of Potsdam


  • Lecturer and researcher at the University of Siegen


  • Lecturer and researcher at Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena


  • Postdoctoral research associate at The Natural History Museum London (NHM), United Kingdom


  • Postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at Darmstadt University of Technology, Institute of Zoology


  • Deputy keeper at head office of the German Herpetological Society (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Herpetologie und Terrarienkunde), research assistant at the University of Cologne, Science educator at Northern Eifel Nature Conservation Centre (Nettersheim) & Research Museum Alexander Koenig, Bonn (ZFMK)