The Fish Collection holds more than 63,000 lots estimated to contain greater than 1 million specimens. More than 3/4 are from Texas freshwaters, representing 216 counties.  Our complete collection's database is accessible via VertNetGBIF, iDigBio, and FishNet2. Additionally, all known Texas collection records (including those based on specimens housed at other institutions) are available via our Fishes of Texas Project.



The Herpetology Collection includes 100,000 specimens of amphibians and reptiles. The emphasis is on Texas, but coverage is worldwide: Africa, Mexico, Central America, South America, and Southeast Asia. A searchable database is available at VertNet.


Plant Resource Center

The more than 1,000,000 total specimens of dried plant materials in the two major herbaria that are the Plant Resources Center document the diversity and distribution of plants from around the world. Particular strengths of the collections are samples from the floras of Texas, the southern United States, the Chihuahuan Desert Region of the U.S. and Mexico, and the Mayan region of southern Mexico and northern Central America, as well as several plant families, such as the Asteraceae (sunflower family). The herbaria contain specimens collected as long ago as the 1760s and as recently as this year, and many famous collectors are represented, including Charles Darwin and Ferdinand Lindheimer (the father of Texas botany). The collection is growing at the rate of about 7,000 new accessions per year, documenting occrrences of everything from endangered species to invasive exotics, and from the most useful plants to the most noxious weeds.



The Entomology Collection is the second largest in Texas, housing 500,000 specimens of pinned insects and associated nests and host plant specimens. The collection's coverage is worldwide, with emphasis on Texas and Mexico. It is housed at the Lake Austin Center.


Cave Arthropods (and other invertebrates)

The Cave Arthropod collection is the world's largest institutional collection of cave organisms, specializing in material from the many hundreds of caves in Texas and adjacent Mexico. 

Also associated with this collection are 400,000 slide-mounted and alcohol-preserved specimens of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine organisms from many parts of the world, but with emphasis on the United States and Mexico. This collection is currently at the Pickle Research Campus, but will soon be established at the Lake Austin Center.


Ornithology and Mammalogy

1,800 specimens of birds and more than 6,000 mammals, mostly from Texas and northern Mexico and collected in the 1930s-1960s, have been transferred to Texas Tech University. Contact heathgarner@ttu.edu for information.


Genetic Resources

The Genetic Resources Collection is a world-class resource that supports molecular phylogenetic and evolution studies of UT researchers and collaborators, as well as the research community worldwide. It includes >40,000 samples housed in -80 ultracold freezers and liquid nitrogen storage tanks, which guarantee that the samples will be useful for decades.