INHS collections data Collections

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Illinois Natural History Survey - Amphibian and Reptile Collection

The Illinois Natural History Survey Amphibian and Reptile Collection contains approximately 24,000 catalogued specimens, representing 55 families and over 550 species (51% Amphibia, 49% Reptilia). The geographical emphasis is Illinois (75%). This is the result of the efforts of Phil W. Smith, who collected specimens from 1935 to 1949 for his comprehensive study "The Amphibians and Reptiles of Illinois," published in 1961. In addition to the Illinois material, the INHS collection also houses specimens from 45 other U.S. states, Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. Most notable among these are specimens collected by P.W. Smith from California (1943-1952) and Mexico (1957-1965), specimens of S.A. Minton from Pakistan, Mexico and Texas and specimens from Thailand collected by R.W. Larimore (1963).
Contact: Dan Wylie (


Illinois Natural History Survey - Annelid Collection

The INHS Annelida Collection is the largest state collection of freshwater oligochaetes in the country, holding 350,000 specimens (7,000+ lots, or collections). Of these, ~225,000 specimens are mounted on microscope slides; the remaining specimens are stored in alcohol in vials and jars. With the exception of the Acanthobdellida (bristle worms – a monospecific order restricted in distribution to the boreal regions in the Arctic) – the collection includes representatives of all other groups of segmented worms in the Phylum Annelida:  Branchiobdellida (one family, Branchiobdellidae – crayfish worms); Hirudinida (leeches); oligochaetous Clitellata {'Oligochaeta'}: aquatic microdrile worms and the primarily terrestrial megadrile oligochaetes (earthworms), and Polychaeta (sand worms, tube worms, clam worms – primarily marine) plus the Aeolosomatida (one family, Aeolosomatidae – head-crawling, or suction-feeding worms, primarily freshwater). Geographic scope of collection: 76% from Illinois, 23% from other U.S. states, protectorates and Canadian provinces, and 1% from 15 other countries. Please visit the INHS Annelida Collection homepage for additional information on geographic scope, diversity, status of specimens in the collection, and collection management projects including a profiling exercise to document the current health of archived specimens.

  • Note regarding collection statistics presented below: Each specimen record represents a single taxon identified from a unique collection or collecting
    event (e.g., site, date, sample, replicate). The number of individuals of that taxon identified from that unique collection or collecting event is
    presented in the column ‘IndividualCount’ for that record. To date, 16,937 identified specimens are associated with the 1,999 records included herein.
  • Contact: Mark J. Wetzel, Curator & Collections Manager (


    Illinois Natural History Survey - Crustacean Collection

    The collection contains primary types of nine species and secondary types of 5 species. The collection contains over 91,000 specimens and 12,100 lots of approximately 350 species in 30 families. Almost all are from North America. About 50% of the collection is from Illinois; the remainder is mostly from the southeastern United States. The best represented groups are crayfishes, shrimps, scuds, slaters, and pill bugs. A few lots of marine crustaceans found along the North American coastline are also present in the collection.
    Contact: Dan Wylie (


    Illinois Natural History Survey - Fish Collection

    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.
    Contact: Chris Taylor (


    Illinois Natural History Survey - Fungi Collections

    The Illinois Natural History Survey (ILLS) Fungarium contains over 70,000 specimens including approximately 12,000 basidiomycetes, 25,000 ascomycetes, 15,000 imperfect fungi, 11,000 lichens, 1,200 zygomycetes and oomycetes, and 1,500 myxomycetes. The collection also possesses 995 type specimens, mostly ascomycetes and imperfect fungi, including 235 holotypes and 555 isotypes and/or paratypes. The fungi are mostly collected from throughout North America with a large plant pathological collection from Illinois, a large aquatic ascomycete collection from the United States and Canada, and a smaller ascomycete collection from the neotropics. As of July 2011, the University of Illinois (ILL) Fungarium is now housed at the same location as the ILLS specimens. This collection contains over 95,000 specimens of mostly ascomycetes and imperfect fungi and includes 4009 type specimens and 43,394 exsiccati. All fungal specimens at Southern Illinois University (SIU) were acquired in 2011. This collection contains over 8000 specimens of mostly basidiomycetes, but also includes 600 myxomycetes from G.W. Martin. All fungal specimens at Eastern Illinois University (EIU) were acquired in 2013. This collection contains over 15,000 specimens of mostly basidiomycetes and over 5000 lichens. In total, there are over 183,000 fungal specimens housed at the Illinois Natural History Survey ranking it within the top ten largest fungaria in the United States.
    Contact: Dr. Andrew Miller (


    Illinois Natural History Survey - Insect Collection

    The INHS Insect Collection, which comprises ca. 7 million prepared specimens as well as noninsect arthropods (e.g., arachnids and myriapods) and miscellaneous invertebrates (bryozoans), is one of the largest and oldest entomological collections in North America. Specimen holdings emphasize the upper midwestern USA but are global in scope for certain groups, particularly Coleoptera, Collembola, Diptera, Hemiptera (Auchenorrhyncha), Hymenoptera (Apoidea), Lepidoptera, Plecoptera, Psocodea (Psocoptera + Phthiraptera), Thysanoptera and Trichoptera. The collection contains significant historical holdings from Illinois dating to the mid-1800s, including >13,000 primary type specimens.
    Contact: Tommy McElrath, Collection Manager (


    Illinois Natural History Survey - Mammal Collection

    The Illinois Natural History Survey Mammal Collection contains 15,418 catalogued lots (skins and skulls combined) of 157 species from 25 families. These specimens are primarily used as comparative material to identify specimens brought to the Survey. Just over half (51%) of the specimens are from Illinois and many were collected between 1930 and 1950 in Illinois and surrounding states.
    Contact: Max Allen (


    Illinois Natural History Survey - Mollusk Collection

    The Illinois Natural History Survey Mollusk Collection contains over 190,000 catalogued specimens in nearly 50,000 lots, most of which were collected in Illinois and the southeastern United States. The collection is about 95% freshwater bivalves and gastropods (mussels, fingernail clams, and snails), 1% land snails and 4% marine gastropods, almost all of which are cones. Most of the specimens were collected as a result of various faunal surveys conducted by INHS biologists from the late 1800's until the present. The early collections were made by such naturalists as John Wesley Powell, Robert Kennicott, Richard E. Call, William A. Nason, Frank C. Baker, Robert E. Richardson, and Charles A. Hart. The largest and best documented collection of landsnails at the INHS was compiled by Thural D. Foster and organized by Frank C. Baker as part of his study on the "Landsnails of Illinois" published in 1939. The Baker snail collection numbers 1632 lots containing 11,970 specimens. The University of Illinois Museum of Natural History Collection contains over 250,000 catalogued specimens in nearly 32,000 lots, and is global in scope with significant holdings of freshwater and terrestrial species from North and Central America. The collection is about 35% freshwater bivalves and gastropods, 35% land snails and 30% marine bivalves and gastropods. Together the collections have over 80,000 lots (58,000 FW, 12,000 marine & and 10,000 landsnails) and nearly 450,000 specimens. Over 135 countries are represented, but the collection is especially strong in freshwater mollusks from the Midwest and Southeastern United States and land snails from Southwestern United States and Central America. Over 40,000 soft parts of more than 200 species have been preserved (approximately half in ethanol) and available for study. All specimens that can be geo-referenced have been assigned latitude and longitudinal coordinates.
    Contact: Kevin S. Cummings (


    Illinois Natural History Survey - Ornithology Collection

    Contact: Dr. Kevin P. Johnson (


    Illinois Natural History Survey - Paleontology Collections

    The paleontological collections at the Illinois Natural History Survey are an amalgam of several traditionally independent collections spanning the INHS, our sister-survey the ISGS, and the broader University of Illinois research community. These collections cover a broad scope taxonomically, geographically and temporally, including a wide variety of both marine and terrestrial fossils from strata around the world. Particular strengths include fossil plants and insects from the Pennsylvanian (Upper Carboniferous) of Illinois and a large collection of Midwestern Pleistocene mollusks. In addition, the INHS is also home to the historically significant Milton Sanderson collection of Early Miocene amber from the Dominican Republic as well as a rapidly growing collection of fossil insects from across the globe, ranging in age from Carboniferous to Pleistocene.
    Contact: Dr. Sam W. Heads (


    Illinois Natural History Survey - Plant Collection

    There are three plant herbaria housed at the Evers Laboratory: Illinois Natural History Survey Herbarium (ILLS), the University of Illinois Plant Biology Herbarium (ILL), and the University of Illinois Crop Evolution Laboratory Herbarium (CEL). Together, these collections contain over 1,000,000 specimens making this the second largest herbarium in Illinois and one of the 15th largest in the United States.
    Contact: Jamie Minnaert-Grote, Collections Manager (


    Non-INHS Illinois Herps

    Contact: Dan Wylie ( ()


    University of Illinois Museum of Natural History Amphibian and Reptile Collection

    With nearly 100,000 catalogued specimens, the UIMNH Amphibian and Reptile Collection is among the largest in North America. The geographic emphasis is Mexico, but there are large holdings from the United States, Canada, Ecuador, Cuba, the Philippines, and Venezuela. There are approximately 2,000 type specimens; including over 170 primary types.
    Contact: Dan Wylie, Collection Manager (


    University of Illinois Museum of Natural History Ornithology Collection

    Contact: Dr. Kevin P. Johnson (