Alejandro Arteaga Follow Alejandro Arteaga on Instagram Follow Alejandro Arteaga on X

Research Director

Alejandro Arteaga serves as President of Khamai Foundation since 2022. In addition to his career as biologist and photographer, in 2009 Alejandro co-founded Tropical Herping, a tour agency that offers nature photography trips and herpetological tours throughout the World’s tropics. He is author of three books (Reptiles of Ecuador, Reptiles of the Galápagos, and The Amphibians and Reptiles of Mindo) and 27 scientific articles. He has discovered and described 35 new species to science and raised funds to save 178 hectares of rainforest in Ecuador. In 2015, he was awarded in the Big Picture Natural World Photography competition. In 2021, Alejandro became a Discovery explorer through his project to rescue harlequin toads at the brink of extinction.

Alejandro’s research is focused primarily on systematics and discovery of new species of tropical amphibians and reptiles, but also targets citizen-science projects for identifying species in the field, either visually using deep learning algorithms or genetically through real-time DNA barcoding. He is currently leading three projects: Reptiles of Ecuador book, Discovering the luminous lizards of Ecuador, and Creating Pitalala Reserve.

Furcifer pardalis
Eunectes murinus
Cruziohyla craspedopus
Ranitomeya ventrimaculata
Hyloscirtus lindae
Echinosaura horrida
Trioceros jacksonii
Phyllomedusa tarsius
Spilotes pullatus
Anolis proboscis
Amblyrhynchus cristatus
Centrolene heloderma
Gonatodes albogularis
Pristimantis gralarias
Enyalioides oshaughnessyi
Uroplatus phantasticus
Atheris squamigera
Calumma parsonii
New species described


New species described

Current projects

Photo of a Turniptail Lightbulb-Lizard

Discovering the luminous lizards of Ecuador

Help Ecuadorian biologist Alejandro Arteaga discover and describe six new species of ancient-looking lizards deemed capable of glowing in the dark.

$14,146 raised of $48,000 goal.


12 backers. 78 days to go.

Photo of the rainforest at Pitalala Reserve

Creating Pitalala: Khamai’s first protected area

Help our emerging foundation consolidate its first conservation goal: the creation of a 130-hectare rainforest reserve in the most biodiverse area of the Amazon.

$338,327 raised of $966,562 goal.


41 backers. 54 days to go.

Cover of the Reptiles of Ecuador book

Reptiles of Ecuador book

Khamai is helping raise funds for the publication of “Reptiles of Ecuador” book, a comprehensive monographic catalogue about every single one of Ecuador’s 493 non-avian reptiles. The fundraiser also helps maintain the website of the book, where the information is provided entirely for free.

$55,826 raised of $80,000 goal.


326 backers. 3 months to go.

Video thumbnail of the eyelash viper project’s results

Completed: Eyelash viper systematics project

This 10-year project concluded in February 8, 2024, with the publication of a research article in which Arteaga et al. (2024) provide a systematic revision of the eyelash vipers (genus Bothriechis), with description of five new species and revalidation of three. Read the press release.

100% of goal raised. 40 backers.

Behind the scenes

Alejandro spends most of his time exploring tropical forests around the world, photographing amphibians and reptiles, and searching for new species. At the office, he likes to write herpetological field guides or scientific papers on new species, systematics, and biogeography.

Alejandro Arteaga showing the ventral aspect of a poison frog
Alejandro Arteaga at the AMNH
Image showing Alejandro Arteaga holding a newly discovered species of ground snake in Ecuador
Expedition team to Yasuní River, Ecuador
Alejandro Arteaga approaching a sleeping sloth in Bocas del Toro, Panama
Alejandro Arteaga holding a frog in Tambopata, Peru
Image showing Alejandro Arteaga holding a coral snake in Ecuador
Alejandro Arteaga swabbing a frog for chytrid fungus in Sangay National Park, Ecuador
Alejandro Arteaga and Valeria Sorgato during an expedition to the unexplored Nangaritza river, Ecuador
Image showing Alejandro Arteaga during an expedition to Reventador Volcano, Ecuador
Image showing Alejandro Arteaga holding an eyelash viper in Darién, Panama
Image showing Alejandro Arteaga in the field during an expedition to Reventador Volcano, Ecuador