Dr. Stefan T. Hertwig

Dr. Stefan T. Hertwig

Wirbeltiere Bereichsleitung +41 (0)31 350 72 80 E-Mail

Abteilungsleiter, Mitglied der Museumsleitung

  • 2008

    lecturer at the University of Bern
  • 2007

    head of the department of vertebrates, Naturhistorisches Musem der Burgergemeinde Bern
  • 2005

    assistant, Institut für Spezielle Zoologie und Evolutionsbiologie mit Phyletischem Museum, Friedrich Schiller Universität Jena
  • 2005

    PhD rer. nat., magna cum laude, Friedrich Schiller Universität Jena, "The evolution of the jaw mausculature in  Cyprinodontiformes (Teleostei, Acanthopterygii)", morphology, functional morphology, cladistics
  • 2003 

    assistant, Institut für Spezielle Zoologie und Evolutionsbiologie mit Phyletischem Museum, Universität Jena
  • 2003

    diploma thesis, Friedrich Schiller Universität Jena
  • 1996 to 2003

    studies in biology, Friedrich Schiller Universität Jena
  • 1995 to 1996

    civilian service
  • 1992 to 1995

    university-entrance diploma
  • 1988 to 1991

    medical college, Erfurt

Research interests

I am interested in evolution, phylogeny, systematics, and biogeography of vertebrates, particularly amphibians. For my research purposes I use morphology, functional morphology, and molecular genetics.

Current Projects

Frogs of Borneo

As part of an international cooperation with UNIMAS Kuching and the Zoological Institute of the University of Hamburg I am studying diversity, evolution, biogeography, and phylogenetic relationships of the frogs and their tadpoles of Borneo. This island is one of the most famous biodiversity hotspots on earth! Laboratory work is conducted in our DNA lab at the Natural History Museum Bern.

More information and an impression of the diversity of Bornean frogs and their often bizarre larvae are available on our homepage www.frogsofborneo.org and see also here.

Students are welcome to join our frogs-of-Borneo-project! Please find information and offers for theses here: PDF-Version

Other projects

I am also interested in the phylogeny and evolution of fishes, in particular of cyprinodontiformes and their allies. 

As supervisor I am involved in research projects about evolution and systematics of parrots based on molecular and morphological data. For more information please visit the homepage of Manuel Schweizer.

Earlier projects
- usability of mitochondrial markers for uncovering the phylogeny of frogs 
- population genetics of the European wildcat (Felis silvestris)
- population genetics of domestic dog breeds

Editorial work
Since 2008 I am one of the editors of the Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research.

Macro and landscape photography is my passion, necessary for the professional documentation of my field work on Borneo, but also one of my hobbies.
Publications in peer-reviewed journals
Schweizer, M., M. Güntert, O. Seehausen, C. Leuenberger & S.T. Hertwig, 2014. Parallel adaptations to nectarivory in parrots, key innovations and the diversification of the Loriinae. Ecology and Evolution. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1131
Oberhummer, E., Barten, C., Schweizer, M., Das, I., Haas, A., Hertwig, S.T., accepted. Description of the tadpoles of three rare species of megophryid frogs (Amphibia: Anura: Megophryidae) from Gunung Mulu, Sarawak, Malaysia. Zootaxa.
Hertwig, S.T., Pui, Y.M., Haas, A., Das, I., 2014. Dressed in Black. A New Ansonia Stoliczka, 1870 (Lissamphibia: Anura: Bufonidae) from Gunung Murud, Sarawak, East Malaysia (Borneo). Zootaxa, 3814 (3): 419–431.
Das, I., Pui, Y.M., Hsu, W.W., Hertwig, S.T., Haas, A., 2014. Red Hot Chili Pepper. A New Calluella Stoliczka, 1872 (Lissamphibia: Anura: Microhylidae) from Sarawak, East Malaysia (Borneo). Zootaxa, 3785 (4): 550–560.
Haas, A., Pohlmeyer, J., McLeod, D., Kleinteich, T., Hertwig, S.T., Das, I., Buchholz, D.R., 2014. Extreme tadpoles II: the highly derived larval anatomy of Occidozyga baluensis (Boulenger, 1896), an obligate carnivorous tadpole. Zoomorphology, DOI 10.1007/s00435-014-0226-7.
Schweizer, M., S.T. Hertwig & O. Seehausen, 2014. Diversity versus disparity and the role of ecological opportunity in a continental bird radiation. Journal of Biogeography,  41, 1301-1312.
Schweizer, M., M. Güntert & S.T. Hertwig 2013. Out of the Bassian province: historical biogeography of the Australasian platycercine parrots (Aves, Psittaciformes). Zoologica Scripta, 42, 13-27.
Hertwig, S.T., Schweizer M., Das, I., Haas, A., 2013: Diversification in a biodiversity hotspot – the evolution of Southeast Asian rhacophorid tree frogs on Borneo (Amphibia: Anura: Rhacophoridae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 68, 567-581.
Haas, A., Hertwig, S.T., Krings, W., Braskamp E., Dehling J.M., Pui, Y.M., Jankowski, A., Schweizer, M., Das, I. (2012): Description of three Rhacophorus tadpoles (Lissamphibia: Anura: Rhacophoridae) from Sarawak, Malaysia (Borneo). Zootaxa, 3328: 1-9.
Hertwig, S.T., Lilje, K.E., Pui, Y.M., Haas, A., Das, I. (2012): Evidence of direct development in the rhacophorid frog Philautus acutus (Rhacophoridae, Anura) from Borneo. Raffles Builletin of Zoology, 60, 559 -568.
Wildenhues, M., Rauhaus, A., Bach, R., Karbe, D., van der Straeten, K., Hertwig, S.T., Ziegler, T. (2012): Husbandry, captive breeding, larval development and stages of the Malayan horned frog Megophrys nasuta (Schlegel, 1858) (Amphibia: Anura: Megophryidae). Amphibian and Reptile Conservation 5(3):15-28.
Schweizer, M.,  Güntert, M., Hertwig, S.T. (2012). Phylogeny and biogeography of the parrot genus Prioniturus (Aves: Psittaciformes). Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, 50 (2), 145–156.
Hertwig, S.T., Das, I., Schweizer, M., Brown, R., Has, A. (2012): Phylogenetic relationships of the Rhacophorus everetti-group and implications for the evolution of reproductive modes in Philautus (Amphibia: Anura: Rhacophoridae). Zoologica Scripta, 41 (1), 29–46.
Streitberger. K., Schweizer, M., Kropatsch, R., Dekomien, G., Distl, O., Fischer, M.S., Epplen, J.T., Hertwig, S.T. (2012): Rapid genetic diversification within dog breeds as evidenced by a case study on Schnauzers. Animal Genetics. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2052.2011.02300.x.
Schweizer, M.,  Seehausen, O., Hertwig, S.T. (2011). Macroevolutionary patterns in the diversification of parrots - effects of climate change, geological events and key innovations. Journal of Biogeography 38: 2176-2194.
Platz, S., Hertwig, S.T., Jetschke, G., Krüger, M., Fischer, M.S. (2011): Comparative morphometric study of the Slovakian wildcat population (Felis silvestris silvestris): Evidence for a low rate of introgression? Journal of Mammalian Biology, 76, 222-233.
Hertwig, S.T. (2010): Book review "Westheide, W, Rieger, G (eds) 2010. "Spezielle Zoologie Teil 2: Wirbel- oder Schädeltiere", Begründet von Wilfried Westheide und Reinhard Rieger unter esonderer Mitwirkung von Alfred Goldschmid, 2nd edn. Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, Heidelberg. 757 pp. " Journal of Zoological Systematics & Evolutionary Research 49, 87.
Ayé, R., Schweizer, M., Hertwig, S.T. (2010): Discovery of the breeding grounds of the enigmatic large-billed reed warbler Acrocephalus orinus. Journal of Avian Biology, 41, 452-459. 
Schweizer, M., Seehausen, O., Güntert, M., Hertwig, S.T.: The evolutionary diversification of parrots supports a taxon pulse model with multiple trans-oceanic dispersal events and local radiations. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 54, 984–994.
Haas, A., Wolter, J., Hertwig, S.T., Das, I. (2009): Larval morphologies of three species of stream toads, genus Ansonia (Amphibia: Bufonidae) from East Malaysia (Borneo), with a key to known Bornean Ansonia tadpoles. Zootaxa, 2302: 1–18.
Werneburg, I., Hertwig, S.T. (2009): Morphology of the cranial soft tissue of the ricefish, Oryzias latipes (Teleostei: Beloniformes). Journal of Morphology, 270, 1095-1106.
Barbosa, I., Kley, M., Schäufele, R., Auerswald, K., Schröder, W., Filli, F., Hertwig, S.T., Schnyder, H. (2009): Analysing the isotopic life history of the alpine ungulates Capra ibex and Rupicapra rupicapra rupicapra through their horns. Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom, 23, 2347–2356.
Hertwig, S.T., Schweizer, M., Stepanow, S., Jungnickel, A., Böhle, U.-R., Fischer, M. S. (2009): Regionally high rates of hybridization and introgression in German wildcat populations (Felis silvestris, Carnivora, Felidae). Journal of Zoological Systematics & Evolutionary Research, 47(3), 283-297.
Krüger, M., Jetschke, G., Hertwig, S.T., Fischer, M. S. (2009): Evaluation of anatomical characters and the question of hybridization with domestic cats in the wildcat population of Thuringia, Germany. Journal of Zoological Systematics & Evolutionary Research, 47(3), 268-282.
Hertwig, S. T. (2008): Phylogeny of the Cyprinodontiformes (Teleostei, Atherinomorpha): the contribution of cranial soft tissue characters. Zoologica Scripta, 37, 141-174.
Haas, A., Hertwig, S. and Das, I. (2006): Extreme tadpoles: The morphology of the fossorial megophryid larva, Leptobrachella mjobergi. Zoology 109(1), 26-42.
Haas, A., Mitgutsch, M., Hertwig, S., Dawood, A., Channing, A. (2004): The tadpole of Tomopterna luganga, Channing, Moyer& Dawood, 2004 (Anura: Ranidae). Salamandra 42(1), 1-12.
Hertwig, S., Rafael O. de Sá, Haas, A. (2004): Phylogenetic signal and the utility of 12S and 16S mtDNA in frog phylogeny. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research. 42 (1), 2-18.
Hertwig, S. (2001): Ökologie, Haltung und Fortpflanzung im Terrarium von Graptemys caglei, G. flavimaculata, G. nigrinoda nigrinoda und G. oculifera. Salamandra, 37 (1), 21-48.
Schweizer, M., S.T. Hertwig & O. Seehausen 2013. Disparity versus diversity and the role of ecological opportunity in the evolution of Neotropical parrots. Biology 13, Basel. The Annual Conference of the Swiss Societies of Botany, Mycology and Zoology.
Hertwig, S.T., M. Schweizer, I. Das & A. Haas 2013. Reconstructing evolutionary patterns of reproductive behaviour in Bornean rhacophorid tree frogs (Amphibia: Anura: Rhacophoridae). Biology 13, Basel. The Annual Conference of the Swiss Societies of Botany, Mycology and Zoology.
Hertwig, S.T., Stepanow, S., Jungnickel, A., Krüger, M., Jetschke, G., Möhlich, T., Vogel, B., Fischer, M. S. (2007): The wildcat (Felis silvestris, Carnivora, Felidae) in Thuringia - a combined morphological and genetic study. Felid Biology and Conservation Conference, Oxford.
Hertwig, S.T. (2007): A comparative study on the functional morphology of the jaw apparatus in Cyprinodontiformes (Teleostei, Atherinomorpha). 8th International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology, Paris.
Werneburg, I., Hertwig, S.T. (2007): Morphology of the Jaw Apparatus of Oryzias latipes in comparison to its relatives (Teleostei, Atherinomorpha, Beloniformes). 8th International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology, Paris.
Hertwig, S.T, Haas, A. (2003): The phylogenetic utility of mitochondrial ribosomal genes – a case study in anurans. Deutsche Zoologische Gesellschaft, Berlin.
Hertwig, S., Haas, A. (2003): Mitochondrial ribosomal genes and the phylogeny of frogs. University of Kuching, Malaysia.
Hertwig, S.T., Haas, A. (2002): The multi-dimensional analysis of mitochondrial ribosomal genes in anurans. Deutsche Zoologische Gesellschaft, Halle.


Since 2008 I am lecturer at the University of Bern and give the following lectures and practicals:

  • “Principles of systematics and phylogeny reconstruction”.
  • "Biodiversity of animals 1", vertebrates
  • "Practical biodiversity of animals", vertebrates


For students

I can offer bachelor and master theses about molecular systematics, morphology and functional morphology in different taxa of vertebrates. In partucular students are welcome to join our frogs-of-Borneo-project! Please, find background information here and here and offers for theses here: PDF-Version