Herpetology vs Hepatology: What is The Right Term?

I consider myself an amateur herpetologist. I own reptiles, have worked with them for many years, and have tailored my education and current job positions around reptiles and amphibians.

Hopefully, I can help you understand what you are searching for: herpetology or hepatology.

The correct term depends on what aspect you are researching.

Herpetology is related to reptiles and amphibians and their related functions. Hepatology refers to studying the liver and its associated diseases and morphology. These terms are not related, however, can be confused due to their similarity. 

This article will conceptually define herpetology and hepatology to show their differences so the terms are no longer confused.

Either term is correct depending on what topic you are looking into, and we will help you understand which is best suited for you and your current internet search. 

We will also discuss other branches of Zoology to help clear up any confusion you may have about animal-related terminology. We will show examples in case you are searching for a term for another branch and define what they study. 

Definition of Herpetology

Herpetology is a branch of zoology that deals specifically with reptiles and amphibians. It studies evolutionary history, life history, genetics, behavior, and all things related to all the species encompassed in the umbrella. 

Herpetology can deal with reptiles and amphibians from an evolutionary standpoint.

It compares species and finds their similarities and differences to further categorize them. This can be done at a genetic level to determine taxonomy of a species. 

Herpetologists study behaviors of all species considered a ‘herp.’ It determines what kind of environments they live in and what niches they occupy in an ecosystem.

Animals in the branch include lizards, snakes, frogs and toads, salamanders and newts, caecilians, and crocodilians. 

Herpetology can lead to a variety of different career paths. Government officials can conduct field studies related to population count and conservation.

Animal care can come in the form of veterinary care and zookeeping (I do both, and love it!).

Others study preserved specimens in laboratory or museum settings to further piece together their histories. 

Definition of Hepatology

Hepatology is a term used mostly in human medicine. It concerns itself with the study of the liver and its related functions, as well as some other organs in proximity. Hepatology deals with liver disease prevention, diagnosis, and management in affected patients. 

I will be honest, I knew very little about hepatology before writing this article. At first I thought it was just related to all things liver, but it is a little more specific than that.

Hepatology deals largely with the diseases associated with the liver. 

These diseases can be due to natural dysfunction, an inflammatory response, drug mediated, or failure due to injury (Gariby et al. 2022).

Hepatology expands on the topic of liver failure and related functions.

This branch of medicine can also concern itself with the gallbladder, pancreases, and their function related to the liver. 

What if I am Looking for Other Branches of Zoology? 

There are multiple other branches of zoology that deal with studies of specific animal groups. Zoology itself is the broad umbrella term for studying the animal kingdom as a whole. It classifies all living and extinct animals into specialized branches. 

We already know that herpetology studies reptiles and amphibians, so we will move on and define other branches.

Maybe you are trying to find the correct term for another branch. Whatever the case may be, we can certainly help:

  • Mammalogy is a very large and popular branch of zoology. Mammalogy studies all things mammals. Large, small, hoofed, carnivore, herbivore, and so much more is encompassed this branch of animals with a vertebrae. Common examples include cats, dogs, rats, monkeys, whales, and bats. 
  • Ornithology is the study of birds. Birds also have vertebrae and are warm-blooded, like mammals. What makes birds unique is their feathers, light-weight skeleton, and their ability to lay eggs. Common examples of bird species could include cardinals, vultures, eagles, and owls. 
  • Ichthyology deals with aquatic fish species. They have a vertebrae and live exclusively in aquatic environments. They have specialized gills that allow them to live and breathe underwater. There are marine mammals, like dolphins, that come to the surface for air and can be confused with fish. Fish species examples are salmon, sharks, and rays.
  • Entomology studies insects of all kinds. Insects do not have vertebrae, have exoskeleton, and three body parts. They are typically very small and have antennae on their heads. Common insects included in this branch are beetles, wasps, butterflies and moths, and termites. 

Hopefully that helps you in your search for the correct term. Let’s conclude with a final differentiation between the hepatology and hepatology.

What is The Right Term: Herpetology or Hepatology?

Herpetology is the term used to include amphibians, like our toad and frog friends. This site is filled with information on herpetology.

If you are interested and looking into liver diseases, then the correct term would be hepatology. “Ology” simply means it is a branch of something and studies that specific thing. 

If you are on this website trying to find information about frogs and toads, and potentially other similar species, then you are searching for herpetology related topics. The term revolves around the animal species encompassed in it, but studies many factors that affect their lives. 

If you are trying to research liver disease and treatments, then this is the wrong site for that kind of information.

The good news is, there are lots of other resources for you on the internet for that kind of search! If you came here looking for liver related resources and found frog related ones instead, I hope you at least learned something interesting. 

Learn more about where to study herpetology in this article on our blog.

This article was written by Melissa M. who holds a Bachelors of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, and a Master Herpetologist certificate. The article was edited and published by Daniella, Master Herpetologist in the author profile below.

Sources

Kuntz, E., & Kuntz, H.-D. (2009). Hepatology. Springer Berlin Heidelber. 

Perez Ruiz de Garibay, A., Kortgen, A., Leonhardt, J., Zipprich, A., & Bauer, M. (2022, September 26). Critical care hepatology: Definitions, incidence, prognosis and role of liver failure in critically ill patients – critical care. BioMed Central. Retrieved from https://ccforum.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13054-022-04163-1 

Zug, G. R., Vitt, L. J., & Caldwell, J. P. (2001). Herpetology An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles . Elsevier Science . 

Daniella Master Herpetologist

Daniella is a Master Herpetologist and the founder of toadsnfrogs.com, a website dedicated to educating the general population on frogs by meeting them where they are in their online Google Search. Daniella is passionate about frogs and put her digital marketing skills and teaching experience to good use by creating these helpful resources to encourage better education, understanding, and care for frogs.