Collection of Fishes

The Collection of Fishes serves as the official repository for specimens generated via research by faculty, students, and staff of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M University. Our holdings may be searched by clicking here. Specimens in the Collection of Fishes are the result of expeditions and environmental surveys conducted by faculty, students, and biologists since 1937. The geographic coverage of specimens in the Collection of Fishes is impressive and includes 71 countries, and all 7 continents. Currently, the Collection of Fishes contains approximately 819,462, distributed across 57,073 individual lots. The collection is diverse and includes 3,928 species of fishes, from 1,531 genera and 364 families, representing 54 of the 57 recognized orders of fishes.

Fluid-preserved fishes at the TCWC.

Fluid-preserved fishes at the TCWC.

The majority of specimens are fluid preserved and stored in glass jars, but over-sized specimens up to 12 feet are stored in larger tanks. The Collection of Fishes also curates tissue samples (suitable for DNA extraction) obtained from voucher specimens housed within the collection. Tissues are maintained in ultra-cold freezers and are included in our vouchers database. Voucher specimens and tissues are available to researchers at other institutions by request (our loan policy can be accessed here). Cleared and double stained specimens, dry skeleton preparations, otoliths, field notes, x-rays and illustrations make up some of the additional ichthyological resources available through the collection. Specimen records may also be queried on-line at FishNetII. Specimen images and x-rays hosted by the TAMU Libraries can be accessed here.

Seining for fishes in the Rio Grande, Big Bend National Park.

Students examining specimens during Ichthyology lab at the BRTC.

Students examining specimens during Ichthyology lab at the BRTC.

Students from the University benefit from the collection in many ways. Courses in Ichthyology and Vertebrate Natural History utilize specimens for teaching. Students may also volunteer or complete their professional internship in the collection in order to receive experience and training in museum curation.


Fluid preserved (top) and cleared and stained (bottom) flatfishes. (photographed by Gary W. Lange, St. Louis)



The Collection of Fishes has received financial support from the National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Sea Grant Texas, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and others.






Recent Publications

Conway, K.W., A. Stewart & C.D. King. (2017). A new species of the clingfish genus Trachelochismus (Teleostei: Gobiesocidae) from bays and estuaries of New Zealand. ZOOTAXA, 4319: 531–549.

Tsakiris, E.T., C. Randklev, A. Blair, M. Fisher & K.W. Conway. (2017). Effects of translocation on survival and growth of freshwater mussels within a West Gulf Coastal Plain river system. Aquatic Conservation: Marine Freshwater Ecosystems, DOI: 10.1002/aqc.2817 

Conway, K.W., D.M. Kim, L. Rüber, H. Espinosa-Perez & P.A. Hastings. (2017). Molecular phylogenetics of the New World clingfish genus Gobiesox (Teleostei: Gobiesocidae) and the origin of a freshwater clade. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 112: 138–147.

Conway, K.W., G.I. Moore & A.P. Summers. (2017). A new genus and species of clingfish (Teleostei: Gobiesocidae) from Western Australia. Copeia, 105: 28-140.

Conway, K.W., K.M. Kubicek & R. Britz. (2017). Morphological novelty and moderate developmental truncation in the skeleton of Barboides, Africa’s smallest vertebrates (Teleostei: Cyprinidae). Journal of Morphology. DOI: 10.1002/jmor.20670

Hastings, P.A. & K.W. Conway. (2017). Gobiesox lanceolatus, a new species of clingfish (Teleostei: Gobiesocidae) from the Los Frailes submarine canyon, Gulf of California, Mexico. ZOOTAXA, 4221: 393–400.

Portnoy, D.S., S.C. Willis, E. Hunt, D.G. Swift, J.R. Gold & K.W. Conway. (2017). Molecular phylogenetics of the New World searobins (Triglidae; Prionotinae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 107: 382–387.


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