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Zoological Collections

The zoological collections are among the largest and most comprehensive in the world. Holdings include millions of specimens in dry storage (such as bones, feathers, shells, pinned insects), fluid-preserved specimens for anatomical research, frozen tissues for DNA studies, as well as numerous other special collections. In addition to forming the basis for research by Field Museum's zoologists, this enormous resource is utilized by scientists from around the world.


The Division of Insects holds worldwide collections of Arthropoda (except Crustacea) ranking fifth in size among North American collections, currently about 4.1 million pinned insects and 8 million specimens or lots in alcohol or on microscope slides.
The Division of Amphibians and Reptiles database contains 278,000 records that indicate the nature and extent of our collection. The records should not be treated as primary data.
The Field Museum ant collection is world-wide in scope and includes the important Robert E. Gregg Collection.
The worldwide collections of spiders and their relatives and millipedes, centipedes, and related groups include all arachnid orders and 15 of the 16 millipede orders. Over 11,000 lots of millipedes (Diplopoda) are identified to at least order and databased.
The Bird Division egg and nest collection has more than 21,000 egg sets and nests.
The bird database contains approximately 500,000 catalogue records from all orders of birds, all but one family, and more than 90% of the world's genera and species. It includes skins, skeletons, alcoholics, tissues, nests and eggs, stomach contents, and syringes.
The Bird Division tissue collection samples from 2,600 of the world's 9,500 bird species.
The Field Museum is one of the world's largest repositories of bulk arthropod samples, collected by museum staff and associates and by collaborators from numerous other institutions. The majority of these are samples of soil and litter faunas (mostly from forests) around...
Explore the Division of Fishes collection of cleared and stained fishes.
The Coleoptera - beetles - make up the largest curated collection unit in the Field Museum's Division of Insects, consisting of at least 3 million pinned and several million alcohol-preserved specimens, and thousands of slides.
Explore all of the Division of Fishes collection records.
Explore the Division of Fishes collection localities.
Explore the Division of Fishes collection of dried fish skeletons.
Explore the Division of Fishes collection of specimen images.
Explore the Division of Fishes type collection.
This searchable database contains records of specimens collected at deep-sea hydrothermal vents.
This searchable database contains records of all the specimen holdings in the Division of Invertebrates.  The Division of Invertebrates is in charge of all invertebrate groups except insects and other primarily terrestrial arthropods.
Primarily, this searchable database contains data from an experiment designed to document members of the wood fall fauna from the deep North Pacific Ocean, in which wood was experimentally deployed by the ROV's Jason and Tiburon in 2002, and recovered after 10 months (July...
The Field Museum's Lepidoptera collection contains worldwide holdings of macrolepidoptera, both butterflies and moths. The single largest element is the worldwide Herman Strecker Collection of nearly 50,000 specimens, built up in the late 19th century and including over 450...
Molluscan journals began in the 1770s and many hundreds of such specialized serials have been introduced since. Tracking the often short-lived runs and frequent name changes can be challenging.  Catalog and database are provided to facilitate access...
The mammal collection of The Field Museum contains more than 209,000 cataloged specimens which are searchable using the options presented here. The primary specimen preparations housed in the collection are skins, skulls, post-cranial skeletons, and fluid preserved...
The Field Museum's version of KE EMu's Taxonomy module supports our specimen (Catalog) data in that it holds information on names of taxa present in our collections. It is also a stand-alone tool that contains information on scientific names at all taxonomic levels,...
This database contains over 185,000 records of almost 328,000 lots in our Molluscan collection.
The Division of Invertebrates currently holds approximately 14,700cataloged lots (= specimen series) of non-mollusk invertebrates. The best-represented groups among these are the Arthropoda (ca. 50%), Annelida (20 %), Echinodermata (8 %), Cnidaria (7%) and Porifera (5 %)
Carl Akeley worked at The Field Museum from 1896 to 1909, collecting and mounting animals for the Museum's exhibitions.  While working at the Field Museum he pioneered a number of advancements in the field of taxidermy.
In the early 1900's, the four scientific departments collected in North, Central and South America, and Africa.
The Photo Archives has an extensive collection of zoological images form the past and the present.
Ectoparasites of vertebrates are a major element of the Division of Insects collection. Diverse cosmopolitan collections with host data provide  bases for comprehensive phylogenetic, biogeographic, and coevolutionary research.