1247-1The roots of UT's Zoology collections can be traced back to the work of Dr. W. Frank Blair in 1946. Dr. Blair, apparently frustrated at the lack of knowledge pertaining to the distribution of vertebrates in Texas, focused on collecting amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. When Dr. Clark Hubbs joined the faculty in 1949, he worked on adding extensive ichthyological material, thus creating the foundation of what is now the University's Ichthyology Collection.

The Ichthyology collection currently (October, 2017) consists of 63,500 lots (~1.5 million specimens), most of which are "wet" collections preserved for long-term storage in 70% non-denatured ethanol. We have a small selection of larval fish from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands that are in 10% formalin. Our skeletal collection consists of around 1300 cleared and stained fish, as well as over 500 skeletal preparations. The alcoholic collections currently occupy 1586 square feet, spread out over two rooms. We also have a tissue collection with over 1300 samples preserved in 100% ethanol frozen in liquid nitrogen.

clearandstainOur earliest specimes were collected in 1927, with a few collections from the 1930s and 1940s. There was significant growth in 1950–1980, mainly due to Clark Hubbs and his students. The bulk of our specimens (80%) are Texas freshwater fishes, with all Texas specimens (freshwater, saltwater, and brackish water) accounting for 87% of the collection. Our overall marine holdings, primarily from the Gulf of Mexico, consist of 7% of all localities. Holdings from other U. S. states or territories include: Florida, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, 30 other states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Twenty non-U. S. countries are represented and account for 9% of the collection, with significant holdings from Mexico, Costa Rica, Venezuela, and Zambia. Our collection continues to rapidly grow with many of our incoming specimens deriving from Dean Hendrickson and his students, museum staff, various researchers, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and the National Park Service.

Type Specimens

The type collection includes:

Over 46 species are represented. The type specimens are housed in a separate area from the rest of the collections.

Acquired & Special Collections

Over the years we have absorbed into our catalog several substantial collections from the following Texas institutions:

State and federal government agencies that contribute significantly to our collections include:

Clark Hubbs Materials

Dr. Clark Hubbs founded UT's fish collection and his legacy is very much apparent still. 13.4% of the jars on our collection shelves still bear his name as collector. A group of his former students and colleagues formed the Hubbs Ichthyological Society to honor Clark and his career by continuing his life-long efforts to document the Texas freshwater fish fauna, to learn more about it, and to help protect it and the habitats it occupies.

The Clark Hubbs Papers

The Clark Hubbs Papers were donated to the Texas Natural History Collections as a bequest of Dr. Hubbs' will. Along with his professional papers, the TNHC also has Hubbs' reprint collection, library of books, and field notes. The papers (not including the reprints, books, and field notes) were processed and re-housed during the summer of 2011 by a hard-working and dedicated masters of Information Science student who left it all neatly organized into proper archival storage in the TNHC Library. The contents are now far more secure for long term preservation, and easily accessible. As a result, these papers are far more valuable not only to those of us who work in this collection, but also to future researchers.

This collection is divided into three main groups: Researcher, Author, and Faculty Member. The bulk of the collection comes from Dr. Hubbs' role as a researcher.

Major series in this collection include:

  • Researcher - Field Notes
  • Researcher - Lab Notebooks
  • Researcher - Lab Notecards
  • Researcher - Lab Notes
  • Researcher - Reports
  • Author - Manuscripts
  • Author - Reprints
  • Author - Visual Aids
  • Faculty Member - Administrator
  • Faculty Member - Professor

Download the archive's Finding Aid (pdf). Contact Dean Hendrickson, Curator, Ichthyology, for further information and access.