CUMV Fish Jars

CUMV Fish Collection

The CUMV Fish Collection was established shortly after the founding of the university in 1865. Many of our earliest specimens were collected by well known researchers such as David Starr Jordan, Carl Eigenmann, Charles Frederick Hartt and Seth Meek. By 1935, the collection contained only about 3,000 lots, but during the following 35 years, Edward Raney and his students built the finest collection of eastern North American freshwater fishes in existence today. In Collette and Lachner's (1976) report on Fish Collections in the United States and Canada, the CUMV Fish Collection ranked thirteenth among all collections and fourth among National Resource Centers in North America. Today the collection contains over 91,000 cataloged lots and more than 1.25 million specimens. Over 320 families and 4500 species from 95 countries are represented. There are also 49 holotypes and approximately 375 secondary types housed in the collection. While the majority of the collection consists of alcoholic specimens, it also contains a growing number of skeletal specimens and tissue samples associated with voucher specimens.

Although there is worldwide representation of both marine and freshwater species, the bulk of the collection is strongly representative of freshwater fishes from eastern North America and has formed the basis for numerous systematic works on the North American fish fauna. Much of the material is in large geographic series, and many sites have been sampled repeatedly through extended periods of time. Some specimens are from the original New York State Biological Survey (1926-39). Many of our collections are from the highly industrialized Northeast and Middle Atlantic states and thus document earlier faunas in habitats now greatly altered, and we have repeated samples through time from many of these localities. Over 500 publications have been based on specimens in the CUMV Fish Collection and over 40 doctoral thesis were written by students associated with the collection.

Data records for specimens and tissues contained in the CUMV Fish Collection can be searched via Arctos or VertNet. Furthermore, publications linked to CUMV fish specimens and tissues can also be search via Arctos.

For questions regarding the CUMV Fish collection please contact the Collection Manager.


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Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates, 159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, NY 14850-1923 USA / +607-254-2161 /