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TNHC Ichthyology Collection

Latest version published by University of Texas at Austin, Biodiversity Collections on Dec 22, 2016 University of Texas at Austin, Biodiversity Collections

The Ichthyology Collection of the Texas Natural History Collections is part of The University of Texas at Austin and includes over 60,000 lots (with over 1,000,000 specimens), most of which are “wet” collections preserved in 70% ethanol occupying 1,586 square feet, spread out over two rooms. We have a small selection of larval fish from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands maintained in 10% formalin and have just recently received over 1800 estimated new lots of larval samples from the Trinity River. Our skeletal collection contains 800 cleared and stained fish, as well as 425 dry skeletal preps. Many of the skeletal specimens originate from W. W. Dalquest and his students. We also have a tissue collection currently with over 1000 samples preserved in 100% ethanol frozen in liquid nitrogen. Our type collection includes 3 holotypes, 110 paratypes, and 1 allotype. Our holdings were collected between 1927 and present and there was a significant increase in collections during 1950–1980, mainly by Clark Hubbs and his students. In 1993 we acquired the collections of the University of Texas at Austin’s Marine Science Institute, totaling ~ 3,000 lots of ethanol preserved specimens from the Gulf of Mexico. Between 2000 and 2011 we acquired collections of ethanol preserved specimens from Midwestern University, Texas Tech University, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, The University of Texas at Brownsville and Lamar University. Our collection is rapidly growing and many of our incoming specimens come from Dean Hendrickson and his students, museum staff, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and various researchers.

Data Records

The data in this occurrence resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 60,109 records.

This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.


Download the latest version of this resource data as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A) or the resource metadata as EML or RTF:

Data as a DwC-A file download 60,109 records in English (4 MB) - Update frequency: unknown
Metadata as an EML file download in English (14 KB)
Metadata as an RTF file download in English (12 KB)


The table below shows only published versions of the resource that are publicly accessible.

How to cite

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

Texas Natural History Collections, Ichthyology Collection(2013). University of Texas at Austin. Contributed by Hendrickson D. A. and A. E. Cohen.


Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is University of Texas at Austin, Biodiversity Collections. To the extent possible under law, the publisher has waived all rights to these data and has dedicated them to the Public Domain (CC0 1.0). Users may copy, modify, distribute and use the work, including for commercial purposes, without restriction.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: 6080b6cc-1c24-41ff-ad7f-0ebe7b56f311.  University of Texas at Austin, Biodiversity Collections publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by U.S. Geological Survey.


Occurrence; Specimen


Who created the resource:

Adam Cohen
Collections Manager
Texas Natural History Collections 10100 Burnet RD, PRC 176/R4000 78758-4445 Austin TX US +01 512-471-8845

Who can answer questions about the resource:

Adam Cohen
Collections Manager
Texas Natural History Collections 10100 Burnet RD, PRC 176/R4000 78758-4445 Austin TX US +01 512-471-8845

Who filled in the metadata:

Melissa Casarez
Assistant Collections Manager
Texas Natural History Collections 10100 Burnet RD, PRC 176/R4000 78758-4445 Austin TX US +01 512-471-4823

Who else was associated with the resource:

Laura Russell
VertNet Programmer
David Bloom
VertNet Coordinator
John Wieczorek
Information Architect
Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at UC Berkeley
Dean Hendrickson
Texas Natural History Collections 10100 Burnet RD, PRC 176/R4000 78758-4445 Austin TX US +01 512-471-9774

Geographic Coverage

Most of our specimens are from the freshwaters of Texas, with some marine collections from the Gulf of Mexico. Our Texas and Gulf of Mexico holdings account for 72% of our collection. The collection also contains significant holdings from 25 countries including: Mexico (2700 lots), the freshwaters of Costa Rica (1372 lots), Venezuela (1969 lots) and Zambia (1030 lots). We have specimens from other parts of the United States as well—AK, AL, AR (475 lots), AZ, CA, CO, FL (650 lots), IL, KA, KT, LA, MI, MO, MS, NC, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OK, OR, Puerto Rico, SC, Virgin Is., WA, and WI. Eighty-two percent of our records, primarily those located in Texas, are now georeferenced.

Bounding Coordinates South West [-90, -180], North East [90, 180]

Taxonomic Coverage

The Ichthyology Collection contains 1,796 species from 794 genera in 267 families, in 52 orders (following Nelson, 2006).

Class  Actinopterygii,  Elasmobranchii

Temporal Coverage

Start Date / End Date 1913-01-01 / 2016-01-01

Project Data

No Description available

Title TNHC Ichthyology Collection
Funding Base funding is provided through the University of Texas, however between 2006 and 2013 the Fishes of Texas Project (, which is based at our collection, has generated $1,793,101, in part to verify specimen identifications, find/correct data errors, georeference, and digitize specimens and related documentation in the TNHC. This funding comes from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. National Science Foundation, and the Texas Army National Guard.

The personnel involved in the project:

Point Of Contact
Adam Cohen

Sampling Methods

Specimens are collected by various and often undocumented means. In many cases that information, when available, is recorded in our database.

Study Extent We have no restrictions related to collection locality and accept specimens collected globally, but are primarily interested in specimens from Texas and neighboring Mexican and U.S. states. Specimens must be legally collected. No restrictions on date of collection.
Quality Control Historically the collection has had a single data validation step after cataloging, in which the catalog data was checked against the verbatim specimen labels. Errors have also been corrected after being pointed out by researchers using the data and specimens. Since the inception of the Fishes of Texas Project ( in 2006, we implemented a more systematic approach to detecting potential species determination and data entry errors. Starting in 2013 we’ll also be photographing all incoming specimens and associated labels as they are cataloged and those photos will be made public so users of our data will be able to compare the raw information to our database.

Method step description:

  1. Incoming specimens are accessioned, transferred to 70% ethanol (if needed), sorted, identified to lowest possible taxonomic level (usually species), cataloged into a Specify database which assigns each lot a unique catalog number, labels are printed, information on printed label is verified against handwritten labels in jar for accuracy and inserted into specimen jars.

Collection Data

Collection Name Texas Natural History Collections, Ichthyology Collection
Collection Identifier
Parent Collection Identifier University of Texas
Specimen preservation methods Alcohol

Additional Metadata

Purpose Each record in this dataset refers to a specimen (or specimens)and these records are thus verifiable via specimen examination and examination of original museum documentation such as field notes and original labels. These data are provided for the purpose of scientific study, so that researchers may either use the data directly or to determine which specimens might be needed to address specific research questions.
Alternative Identifiers 6080b6cc-1c24-41ff-ad7f-0ebe7b56f311