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Fish Collection Database

Welcome to the Field Museum's Fish Collection Database


The Division of Fishes maintains and provides access to an internationally recognized collection containing over a million specimens in ca. 130,000 lots (including an estimated 28,000 uncatalogued lots). The collection's geographic representation is worldwide with strengths found in both our marine and freshwater holdings. The complete catalogued portion of the collection is searchable using the entire database option to the right.

The majority of the collection is preserved in 70% ethanol. The remainder is preserved as dry or cleared and stained skeletal material (ca. 1200 and 3000 specimens, respectively). The type collection is a significant depository of ichthyological types with 988 primary type lots and 5508 secondary type lots. Our x-ray, digital image and tissue collections are also rapidly growing components of our holdings. The searchable subsets of the collection can be found to the right.

The Fish Collection database has been developed with funding from two NSF grants (NSF BSR-9012652, 1991-1994 and NSF DEB-9407568, 1994-1997), enabling retrospective data capture and verification on MUSE. A subsequent IMLS - Museums for America grant (Sept. 2004 - Sept. 2006 , MA-01-04-0817-04) supported the migration of the database from MUSE to EMu. Many of our x-ray and digital images are due to assistance provided by the All Catfish Species Inventory, supported by the National Science Foundation, NSF DEB-0315963.

The Fish Collection at The Field Museum is organized according to David Starr Jordan's (1923) family numbers (group numbers) with a few modifications. Family names are from our MUSE database which was modified from the taxonomic dictionary provided by William N. Eschmeyer for MUSE Version 3.4 (1994). In searching our database, the user is cautioned that many old names remain. In addition, the possibility of misidentifications cannot be ruled out.

To facilitate searches that are location oriented, locality information alone can be searched here. Results of these searches will include the Field #, which can then be used to focus subsequent searches, and a list of the specimens associated with that Field #.

Contact either Mary Anne Rogers, Leo Smith or Mark Westneat for direct assistance related to the Fish collection data.

Please take a few moments to fill in our user questionnaire.

Notes for Searching the Fish Collection Database:

Group # is the family number as listed in Jordan's (1923) classification.
Family is, for the most part, the name supplied by Eschmeyer for the final version of MUSE, with a few modifications by FMNH.
Field # is the collector's number, whenever it was supplied. In the many instances where no original field number was supplied, a "dummy" number was created, often with the collector's initials. Many of the "dummy" numbers were made by attaching "Z" to the catalogue number.
Collector can be the name of a person, vessel or expedition.
Date follows the dd/mm/yyyy format and any valid date or date fragment can be entered in searches.

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