Collections Data - Fishes

Welcome to the Field Museum's Fish Collection Data

The Collection 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.

The majority of the collection is preserved in 70% ethanol. The remainder is preserved as dry or cleared and stained skeletal material (ca. 1500 and 3500 specimens, respectively). The type collection is a significant depository of ichthyological types with 988 primary type lots and 5600 secondary type lots. Our x-ray, digital image and tissue collections are also rapidly growing components of our holdings. 

The Fish Collection data 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.

For copyright, data usage and citation information please refer to the Field Museum Data Norms and Considerations.


Contact either Kevin Swagel or Susan Mochel for direct assistance related to the Fish collection data.


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.