Primary tabs

Animals

Zoological research at The Field Museum is organized around six world-class collections: Amphibians and Reptiles, Birds, Fishes, Insects (with arachnids and myriapods), Invertebrates, and Mammals. Each collection has its own staff, maintaining holdings that together total more than 19.5 million zoological specimens from around the world. In addition to their diverse research programs, the our Curators and staff actively build collections, train graduate, undergraduate, and high school students, contribute to exhibits and other public programs, serving the diverse needs of the public and scientific communities.

Animals Collections

All Arthropod Collections

The Field Museum's Division of Insects houses worldwide collections of Arthropoda (excluding Crustacea) that rank fifth in overall size among North American collections. At present, the collection includes approximately 4.1 million pinned insects and 8 million specimens or lots of insects and other arthropods in alcohol or on microscope slides. The collection receives heavy use by US and international visitors and borrowers. Collection data are now available online in KE EMu for many parts of the collection:

Ant (Formicidae) Collection

The Field Museum ant collection is worldwide in scope and includes the important Robert E. Gregg Collection among others.  Although the majority of the Gregg collections are from the USA, it also includes important collections from around the world.  There are also extensive wet (70% alcohol preserved) worldwide collections due to the efforts of previous collectors including H.S. Dybas and S.B. and J.

Arachnida & Myriapoda Collections

The entire scorpion (Scorpiones) collection has been databased as lots, largely through the efforts of Tom Anton and collection manager Dan Summers. As of February 2008, it consists of close to 1000 lots (mostly single-specimen), including 71 type lots, from 53 different countries, with 11 of the 18 scorpion families represented. The Field Museum's types of spiders (Araneae, ca. 140 lots), daddy-long-legs (Opiliones, ca. 100 lots), and pseudoscorpions (Pseudoscorpiones, ca. 80 lots), have all been databased. Relatively little non-type material of those orders has been entered so far. 

Bird Egg Collection

This search allows you to explore Field Museum's Bird Division egg and nest collections.  With more than 500,000 data-rich specimens, our worldwide collections receive heavy use by US and international visitors and borrowers.   We encourage you to contact us if you need additional information or want to request a loan of specimens.

Bird Specimen Collection

This search allows you to explore Field Museum's Bird Division main collection of skin, skeleton, and spirit specimens.  With more than 500,000 data-rich specimens, our worldwide collections receive heavy use by US and international visitors and borrowers.   We encourage you to contact us if you need additional information or want to request a loan of specimens.

Bird Tissue Collection

This search allows you to explore Field Museum's Bird Division collection of genetic resources. We encourage you to contact us if you need additional information or want to request a loan of specimens.  When you are ready to prepare a loan request, please follow the guidelines outlined in our destructive sampling policy found here.

Bulk Sample Collection

At over 16,000 samples and growing, this may be the largest such collection in existence. Most samples have had some taxa removed (especially some combination of beetles, mites, spiders, millipedes, and recently ants), but still contain vast numbers of other arthropods. In addition to soil and litter samples, there are also samples from some 4,000 trap collections (flight intercept or FIT like the photo above; unbaited pitfall; dung- and carrion-baited pitfall; and blacklight) and small-scale pyrethrin-fogging of substrates such as rotting logs.

Cleared and Stained Fishes Collection

This search allows you to explore all of Field Museum's Division of Fishes cataloged cleared and stained specimens.  With more than 1.7 million cataloged and uncataloged specimens in approximately 130,000 lots, our worldwide collections receive heavy use by US and international visitors and borrowers.   If you are through searching this database, we encourage you to contact us with any questions or requests.

Coleoptera Collection

The beetle collection is world-wide in scope, with special strengths in the Staphylinidae (rove beetles), Histeridae (clown beetles), Silphidae (carrion beetles), Sphaeritidae (false clown beetles), Synteliidae & Agyrtidae (primitive carrion beetles):

Fishes Collection

This search allows you to explore all of Field Museum's Division of Fishes cataloged specimens. With more than 1.7 million cataloged and uncataloged specimens in approximately 130,000 lots, our worldwide collections receive heavy use by US and international visitors and borrowers.   If you are through searching this database, we encourage you to contact us with any questions or requests.

Fishes Collection Localities

This search allows you to explore all of Field Museum's Division of Fishes recorded collection localities.  With more than 1.7 million cataloged and uncataloged specimens in approximately 130,000 lots, our worldwide collections receive heavy use by US and international visitors and borrowers.   If you are through searching this database, we encourage you to contact us with any questions or requests.

Fishes Dried Skeleton Collection

This search allows you to explore all of Field Museum's Division of Fishes cataloged dried skeletal specimens.  With more than 1.7 million cataloged and uncataloged specimens in approximately 130,000 lots, our worldwide collections receive heavy use by US and international visitors and borrowers.   If you are through searching this database, we encourage you to contact us with any questions or requests.

Fishes Image Collection

This search allows you to explore all of Field Museum's Division of Fishes records that have specimen images.  With more than 1.7 million cataloged and uncataloged specimens in approximately 130,000 lots, our worldwide collections receive heavy use by US and international visitors and borrowers.   If you are through searching this database, we encourage you to contact us with any questions or requests.

Fishes Type Collection

This search allows you to explore all of Field Museum's Division of Fishes cataloged type specimens.  With more than 1.7 million cataloged and uncataloged specimens in approximately 130,000 lots, our worldwide collections receive heavy use by US and international visitors and borrowers.   If you are through searching this database, we encourage you to contact us with any questions or requests.

Invertebrates

The collections currently exceeds 340,000 catalogued lots (= specimen series) with continuing growth. Research and collecting traditionally focused on the phylum Mollusca with more than 328,000 cataloged lots. Non-mollusk invertebrates are represented by ca. 14,500 cataloged lots with the Arthropoda (ca. 50%), Annelida (20 %), Echinodermata (8 %), Cnidaria (7%) and Porifera (5 %) best represented.

Invertebrates from Wood Falls

Primarily, this searchable dataset 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 2003 by the ROV Jason II) and after 24 months (by the Deep Submergence Vehicle, Alvin). The deployments were made at Escanaba Trough, Gorda Ridge, Endeavour Segment, Axial Volcano and several sites on Cascadia Basin at depths of from 1550 to 3250 m.

Lepidoptera Collection

The collection has been inventoried and curated at the species level. Integration of the Strecker and several smaller collections with the main collection was completed along with moving and rehousing the entire Lepidoptera collection in new cabinets. The Strecker collection specimen data and comprehensive inventory data are both presented here.

Mammal Collection

Established in 1894, the collection of the Division of Mammals is worldwide in scope.  It contains more than 209,000 specimens and is one of the most heavily used mammal collections in the world.  Its absolute size and geographic and taxonomic representation make it one of the most significant collections for specimen-based studies in mammalogy. A total of 540 primary type specimens have been catalogued. 

Mammal Taxonomy

The Mammal collection is organized according to "Mammal Species of the World, 3rd ed." (Wilson and Reeder, 2005), with some modifications. However, users are cautioned that historical names may still be in use. If you do not find the taxon you seek in the main mammal collection search, try our taxonomy option to find how it might be filed within our collection. While we strive for accuracy in the data presented, we cannot guarantee it and urge users to verify all data. Currently records from Madagascar are not available.

Mollusk Collection

At present the Division of Invertebrates, which began in 1938 with a collection of 16,000 lots, manages more than 328,000 cataloged mollusk lots, with approximately 4.5 million specimens. Our molluscan collection now ranks among the top three or four in North America.

Non-Molluscan Invertebrate Collection

The Division of Invertebrates currently holds approximately 14,700 cataloged 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 %). The core of the holdings are collections acquired by The Field Museum from the 1893 Columbian Exposition. Additions to these collections have come via collecting efforts with primary focus on other groups and the deposit of voucher material.

Photo Archives - Carl Akeley Collection

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.  Among them was a method of sculpting the underlying mannequin that gives all of his work its perfectly lifelike appearance.  Akeley was also ground breaking in posing animals in accurate recreations of their natural habitats.  Akeley's brilliant work can still be seen today in a number of The Field Museum's exhibitions.