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Max Sparreboom

Dr M. (Max) Sparreboom, Deceased


Email: communicatie@naturalis.nl
Phone: -
Room number: not applicable


Max Sparreboom passed away on 30 August 2016. Max was director of the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation in Amsterdam, the cultural organisation that awards the annual Erasmus Prize. He has also worked as director of the International Institute for Asian Studies, holding the chair of Scientific Relations between Asia and Europe at Leiden University. Before that, Max was Dean of the Faculty of History and Arts at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and professor in the Organisation of the Humanities.


Research interest

Max studied Indo-Iranian Languages and Cultures at the University of Leiden. In 1983 he obtained his doctorate at that university with a thesis entitled: Chariots in the Veda. Apart from my philological and cultural interests, he had a broad general interest in the natural history of amphibians and reptiles and a specific interest in the reproductive behaviour of salamanders.

Max studied salamanders in Japan, China, Turkey, Syria, Vietnam, Morocco and southern Europe. He was visiting professor at the Institute of Biology in Chengdu, Sichuan.

Salamandra maxima (= Andrias japonicus) copyright: Naturalis Biodiversity Center


salamanders, reproductive behaviour

Current research topics


Not applicable.



Not applicable.

Available student projects


Max published on Vedic ritual, humanities research in general, and on the reproductive behaviour of salamanders.

Selected publications on amphibians

2014 Sparreboom, M. Salamanders of the Old World. KNNV Publishers, Zeist.

2014 Pasmans, F., S. Bogaerts, H. Janssen & M. Sparreboom. Salamanders - keeping and breeding. Natur und Tier-Verlag, Muenster.

2014 Pasmans, F., S. Bogaerts, H. Janssen & M. Sparreboom. Molche und Salamander halten und zuechten. Natur und Tier-Verlag, Muenster.

2013 Bogaerts, S., M. Sparreboom, F. Pasmans, A. Almasri, W. Beukema, A. Shebab & Z.S. Amr (2013). ‘Distribution, ecology and conservation of Ommatotriton vittatus and Salamandra infraimmaculata in Syria.’ Salamandra, 49: 87-96.

2013 Nguyen, T.T., A. Martel, M. Brutyn, S. Bogaerts, M. Sparreboom, F. Haesebrouck, M.C. Fisher, W. Beukema, T.D. Van, K. Chiers & F. Pasmans (2013). ‘A Survey for Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in endangered and highly susceptible Vietnamese salamanders (Tylototriton spp.).’ Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 44: 627-633.

2012 Pasmans, F., G.P.J. Janssens, M. Sparreboom, J. Jiang. & K. Nishikawa (2012). ‘Reproduction, development, and growth response to captive diets in the Shangcheng Stout Salamander, Pachyhynobius shangchengensis (Amphibia, Urodela, Hynobiidae).’ Asian Herpetological Research, 3: 192-197.

2011 Wiens, J.J., M. Sparreboom & J.W. Arntzen. Crest evolution in newts: implications for reconstruction methods, sexual selection, phenotypic plasticity and the origin of novelties.Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 24: 2073-2086. 

2011 Sparreboom, M. Japanische und koreanische Urodelen, ein Reisebericht. Amphibia, 10: 19-25.

2011 Sparreboom, M., T.T. Nguyen, S. Bogaerts, F. Pasmans & A. Martel. Tylototriton asperrimus (Black Knobby Newt) reproduction. Herpetological Review, 42: 81-82.

2010 Bogaerts, S., F. Pasmans, M. Sparreboom & A. Almasri. Verbreitung, Oekologie und Gefaehrdung des Kleinasiatischen Feuersalamanders, Salamandra infraimmaculata und des Suedlichen Bandmolchs, Ommatotriton vittatus in Nordwest Syrien. Amphibia, 9: 5-6. 

2010 Bogaerts, S., F. Pasmans, M. Sparreboom & M. Biricik. Observations on a breeding population of Neurergus strauchii barani Oez, 1994 (Caudata: Salamandridae) on Kubbe Mountain, Turkey. Salamandra, 46: 55-58.

2008 Brandon, A., J.W. Arntzen, S. Baha el Din, W. Boehme, D. Cogalniceanu, J. Crnobrnja-Isailovic, P.-A. Crochet, C. Corti, R. Griffiths, Y. Kaneko, S. Kuzmin, M.W.N. Lau, P. Li, P. Lymberakis, R. Marquez, T. Papenfuss, J.M. Pleguezuelos, N. Rastegar, B. Schmidt, T. Slimani, M. Sparreboom, I. Ugurtas, Y. Werner & F. Xie. Amphibians of the Palaearctic Realm. pp. 106-111, in: Stuart, S.N., M. Hoffmann, J.S. Chanson, N.A. Cox, R.J. Berridge, P. Ramani & B.E. Young (eds). Threatened Amphibians of the World. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain; IUCN, Gland, Switzerland; and Conservation International, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

2003 Sparreboom, M. Triturus italicus (Peracca 1898) -  Italienischer Wassermolch. In:Handbuch der Amphibien und Reptilien EuropasUrodelen, Band 4/IIA. K. Grossenbacher &B. Thiesmeier (Eds). Pp: 707-725.  

2001 Sparreboom, M., F. Xie & L. Fei. The evolution of courtship in salamanders of the Tylototriton/Echinotriton group. Abstracts Fourth World Congress of Herpetology, 3-9 December 2001, Bentota, Sri Lanka: 111-112. 

2001 Sparreboom, M., F. Xie & L. Fei. Endangered Chinhai Salamander colonising newly created breeding habitat. Froglog, 47: 1-2. 

2001 Sparreboom, M., F. Xie & L. Fei. Reproductive behaviour of the Chinhai Salamander(Echinotriton chinhaiensis) (Caudata, Salamandridae). Amphibia-Reptilia, 22: 309-320. 

2000 Sparreboom, M. The care of salamanders in captivity, with emphasis on Old World species. Cultum Herpetologica Sinica: 280-292. 

2000 Xie, F., L. Fei, C. Ye, C. Cai, Z. Wang & M. Sparreboom. Breeding migration and oviposition of the Chinhai Salamander, Echinotriton chinhaiensisHerp. J., 10: 111-118. 

2000 Sparreboom, M., S. Steinfartz, G. Schultschik. Courtship of Neurergus (Caudata:Salamandridae). Amphibia-Reptilia, 21: 1-11.  

1999 Sparreboom, M., B. Thiesmeier. Courtship behaviour of Pachytriton labiatus (Caudata:Salamandridae). Amphibia-Reptilia, 20: 339-344.          

1999 Sparreboom, M. Haltung und Nachzucht von Tylototriton verrucosusElaphe, 7: 20-24. 

1998 Sparreboom, M., P. van den Elzen. A preliminary note on the care and breeding of Bombina maxima Boulenger, 1905) in captivity. BHS Bulletin, 65: 14-22. Revised reprint of 1982 paper in Br. J. Herpetol., 6: 269-272. 

1998 Sparreboom, M. Maintenance and breeding of newts of the genus CynopsBHS Bulletin, 63: 3-12. 

1997 Sparreboom, M. Triturus italicus (Peracca 1898). In: Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Europe. Ed. by J.-P. Gasc and members of the SEH Mapping Committee. SEH & Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris. Pp. 80-81. 

1997 Sever, D.M., M. Sparreboom & G. Schultschik. The dorsal tail tubercle of Mertensiella caucasica and M. luschani (Amphibia: Salamandridae). J. Morphol., 232: 93-105. 

1997 Sparreboom, M. & M.M. Faria. Sexual behaviour of the Chinese fire-bellied newt,Cynops orientalisAmphibia-Reptilia, 18: 27-38. 

1996 Sparreboom, M. Sexual interference in the sword-tailed newt, Cynops ensicauda popei (Amphibia: Salamandridae). Ethology, 102: 672-685. 

1995 Sparreboom, M. & H. Ota. Notes on the life-history and reproductive behaviour of Cynops ensicauda popei (Amphibia: Salamandridae). Herpetol. J., 5: 310-315. 

1994 Sparreboom, M. On the sexual behaviour of the sword-tailed newt, Cynops ensicauda (Hallowell, 1860). Abh. Ber. Naturk. Magdeburg, 17: 151-161. 

1994 Sparreboom, M. Fortschritte in der Haltung und Erforschung der Schwanzlurche von Wolterstorff bis heute. Advances in the maintenance and study of urodeles from Wolterstorff until today. Öffentlicher Abendvortrag während des Symposiums ‘Ökologie und Stammesgeschichte der Schwanzlurche’ anlässlich des 50. Todestages von Dr. Willy Wolterstorff, Magdeburg, 23. Januar 1993. Abh. Ber. Naturk. Magdeburg, 17: 23-28.

1991 Sparreboom, M. Aquarienbeobachtungen am Chinesischen Warzenmolch Paramesotriton chinensis (Gray 1859). In: Amphibienforschung und Vivarium (Herrmann, H.-J., ed.). Naturhist. Mus., Schleusingen, pp. 89-92. 

1990 Sparreboom, M. & B. Teunis. The courtship of the marbled newt, Triturus m. marmoratus. Amphibia-Reptilia, 11: 351-361. 

1989 Arntzen, J.W. & M. Sparreboom. A phylogeny for the Old World newts, genus Triturus:Biochemical and behavioural data. J. Zool., Lond., 219: 645-664. 

1987 Sparreboom, M. & P. Arntzen. Über die Amphibien in der Umgebung von Adapazari, Türkei. herpetofauna, 9, 50: 27-34. 

1987 Giacoma, C. & M. Sparreboom. On the sexual behaviour of the Italian newt Triturus italicus (Caudata: Salamandridae). Bijdr. Dierk., 57, 1: 19-30. 

1986 Sparreboom, M. Note préliminaire sur le comportement sexuel du triton creté (Triturus cristatus) et du triton marbré (Triturus marmoratus) dans des conditions expérimentales. Bull. Soc. Herp. Fr., 40:36-42.

1986 Zuiderwijk, A. & M. Sparreboom. Territorial behaviour in crested newt Triturus cristatus and marbled newt T. marmoratus (Amphibia, Urodela). Bijdr. Dierk., 56, 2: 205-213. 

1986 Sparreboom, M. Courtship in newts of the genus Triturus and ParamesotritonStudies in Herpetology. Proc. Third Ord. Gen. Meet. SEH, Prague 1985 (Z. Rocek, ed.), Charles University, Prague,pp.529-534. 

1983 Sparreboom, M. On the sexual behaviour of Paramesotriton caudopunctatus (Liu & Hu)(Amphibia: Caudata: Salamandridae). Amphibia-Reptilia, 4: 25-33.

1982 Sparreboom, M. Bibliografie van de Nederlandse herpetofauna. Lacerta en Stichting Bevordering Herpetologie, Amsterdam.

1982 Sparreboom, M. & P. van den Elzen. A preliminary note on the care and breeding of Bombina maxima (Boulenger, 1905) in captivity. Br. J. Herpetol., 6: 269-272. 

1981 Sparreboom, M. (red.) De amfibieën en reptielen van Nederland, België en Luxemburg. Balkema, Rotterdam.