A large part of the Illinois Natural History Fish Collection comes from specimens collected from 1880 to 1905 for S.A. Forbes and R.E. Richardson’s “The Fishes of Illinois” published in 1908 and from specimens collected from 1950 to 1978 for P.W. Smith’s “The Fishes of Illinois” published in 1979. Thousands of specimens have been added from other areas of North and South America in the past few decades. The collection contains representatives from 48 of the 50 states and many countries including: Angola, Antigua, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, England, Guyana, Indonesia, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Thailand, Trinidad Venezuela, and Yugoslavia. The geographic scope of the collection is about 58% from Illinois, 28% from elsewhere in North America, 13% from South America, and 1% from the rest of the world, including Antarctica.
Integrating the Orphaned Southern Illinois University Fluid Vertebrate Collections into the Illinois Natural History Survey Collections.
Since its foundation, the mission of the Illinois Natural History Survey Collections is to acquire, conserve, share, and interpret collections and associated information pertaining to the biotic resources of Illinois and the diversity of life. With the recent acquisition of the Southern Illinois University Fluid Vertebrate Collections, more than 75,000 fish lots will not only complement the number of specimens but extend the geographic coverage and increase the diversity of fishes preserved at INHS. When completed, the collection integration project will add about 200 fish species previously not represented at INHS, but found in North America, South America, or other continents and regions of the world. Additionally, digitized data of more than 650,000 fish specimens mainly from the Midwestern United States and South America will become available to researchers and students all around the world via our online database and iDigBio.