S.A. Forbes

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, Uruguay, 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.

Integration of 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 65,000 fish lots have not only complemented the number of specimens but extended the geographic coverage and increased the diversity of fishes preserved at INHS. Completed in spring of 2023, the collection integration project has added 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, newly digitized data of more than 650,000 fish specimens mainly from the Midwestern United States and South America are available to researchers and students all around the world via our online database and iDigBio.