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Multi-Institution, Multi-Collection Museum Database

Arctos is an ongoing effort to integrate access to specimen data, collection-management tools, and external resources on the internet. Read more about Arctos at our Documentation Site, explore some random content, or use the links in the header to search for specimens, media, taxonomy, projects and publications, and more. Sign in or create an account to save preferences and searches.

Arctos is currently 2127527 specimens and observations in 83 collections. Following the search links below will set your preferences to filter by a specific collection or portal. You may click [ search all collections ] at any time to re-set your preferences.

University of Alaska Museum
UAM Archeology Collection (GUID Prefix: UAM:Arc)
UAM Archeology Collection
UAM Art Collection (GUID Prefix: UAM:Art)
UAM Art Collection
UAM Bird Collection (GUID Prefix: UAM:Bird)
With emphasis on the birds of northwesternmost North America, including taxa endemic to Beringia and the circumpolar North, the Bird Collection is the best in existence of avian material from Alaska. Almost all bird species and subspecies known in Alaska are represented and are preserved primarily as skins, skeletons, and tissues. The collection consists of over 30,000 birds. Most recent preparations include skin, partial skeleton, tissue, and stomach samples for each individual. Tissues are part of the Genomic Resources Collection. Specimens are regularly loaned for scientific research. Specimen loan policies and a summary database are available for interested researchers. Taxonomy: Most recent orders of birds, constituting ~140 families, ~800 genera and nearly 2,000 species. We hold specimen material for over 90% of the 619 species and subspecies of birds known to occur in Alaska. Geography: Global in extent with strongest representation coming from Alaska and places where migratory Alaska birds winter.
UAM EH Observation Collection (GUID Prefix: UAMObs:EH)
UAM Ethnology & History Observations
UAM Earth Science Collection (GUID Prefix: UAM:ES)
The University of Alaska Museum of the North Earth Sciences collection (UAMES) focuses on Alaskan fossils. It contains more than 65,000 specimens in two sub- collections: paleontology and geology (not databased yet). The paleontology collection houses both vertebrate and invertebrate specimens, ranging from Cambrian archaeocyathids to Quaternary mammals. Significantly, it is the largest collection of polar dinosaurs in the world with 10,000 specimens, primarily from the North Slope of Alaska. It also comprises a diverse assortment of Alaskan Quaternary mammals, including a large portion of the material collected throughout Alaska by Otto W. Geist between the late 1920s and the 1960s. The collection also contains a variety of paleobotanical specimens and a large collection of invertebrates (both micro- and macrofossils). It is home to 39 holotypes and 409 paratypes, most of which are invertebrates. The collection is growing through active research projects in different regions of Alaska and collaboration with state and federal agencies.
UAM Ento Observation Collection (GUID Prefix: UAMObs:Ento)
Insect Observations. This dataset is pulled from the literature, other non-digitized collections, and databases. It is restricted to Alaskan non-marine arthropod records. Most records are not precisely georeferenced.
UAM Ethnology Collection (GUID Prefix: UAM:EH)
UAM Ethnology Collection
UAM Fish Observation Collection (GUID Prefix: UAMObs:Fish)
Fish Observations
UAM Fishes Collection (GUID Prefix: UAM:Fish)
The UAM fish collection targets the freshwater and marine fish fauna of Alaska and nearby regions. The collection is part of the University of Alaska Museum within the University of Alaska Fairbanks. At present (2013), UAM fish collection holdings consist of approximately 6000 lots collected over the past five decades. The collection is the repository of oceanographic field surveys in the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort seas along with freshwater material collected by researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. More recently, the collection has been growing through the field efforts of state and federal agencies, as well as substantial transfers of lots from the privately held Point Stephens Research collection.
UAM Herbarium (ALA) Cryptogams Collection (GUID Prefix: UAMb:Herb)
Most lichen collections in ALA date from the early post WWII period, after the Alcan (now Alaska Highway) was completed, including specimens from John Thomson’s first of two Alaska expeditions in 1958 on the Arctic Slope as well as his 1967 expedition along the Alaska Highway. The contributions of three other people, H. Persson and W. C. Steere (bryophytes) and H. Krog (lichens), further strengthened the foundation for ALA’s cryptogamic collections. Barbara Murray’s collecting started in the 1970s just after the discovery of oil at Prudhoe Bay on the arctic coast of Alaska. Use of helicopters became frequent and as a result Murray has collected large number of specimens at over 250 Alaskan localities. The ALA cryptogamic collection has recently been supported by two NSF grants (NSF- 1023407: Toward Documenting Biodiversity Change in Arctic Lichens: Databasing the Principal Collections, Establishing a Baseline, and Developing a Virtual Flora (with University of Wisconsin) and NSF NSF-1115056: TCN Collaborative Research: North American Lichens and Bryophytes: Sensitive Indicators of Environmental Quality and Change) to help with digitization of specimen data and taking care of large backlogs of specimens. The majority of the cryptogam collections are from Alaska, while numerous collections are also from Russia, Fennoscandia, Canada and the lower 48 United States.
UAM Herbarium (ALA) Vascular Plants Collection (GUID Prefix: UAM:Herb)
The Herbarium at the University of Alaska Museum (ALA) is the major regional herbarium in Alaska and part of a network of similar collections with an interest in the origin and evolution of the circumpolar flora. ALA contains more than 235,000 specimens of vascular and non-vascular plants. Much of our understanding of Ice Age Beringia is based on botanical specimens, the largest collection of which is housed at ALA. Our recent acquisition from Iowa State University of the J. P. Anderson Collection (32,000 specimens on permanent loan) forms a significant part of this story. This collection of arctic and boreal plants, which contains 67 nomenclatural type specimens, formed the basis for much of Anderson’s seminal work, The Flora of Alaska. The botanical collection also includes plants from other states, Canada, Greenland, Fennoscandia, Japan, and Russia and provides a basis for teaching and research. Our botanical collection can be viewed and searched through the database ARCTOS and includes high resolution images of 163,000 herbarium sheets, online representation of 190,000 holdings, and inclusion of all holdings in an object-tracking system (barcode labeling).
UAM Herpetology Collection (GUID Prefix: UAM:Herp)
Amphibians and reptiles at the University of Alaska Museum. Sporadic and opportunistic collections of Alaskan amphibians and reptiles.
UAM Insects Collection (GUID Prefix: UAM:Ento)
The UAM Insect collection is the northern-most facility of its kind in the United States. 98.5% of our records are from Alaska. Although a young collection (begun in 2000), we have recently surpassed 200,000 cataloged specimens / lots (as of June 2014). Over 99% of these records have been georeferenced. Over 75% of the pinned collection has been databased; approximately 10% of the wet collection has been databased. At least one specimen of every lowest identification, in both the pinned and wet collections, has been databased so we have a complete online taxon inventory of the collection. 83,464 specimens have been identified to the species level - these represent 2,707 species (23% are apparent new records for the state). Coleoptera, Odonata, and Hymenoptera are the most well-curated groups. Please use this DOI to cite this collection / dataset:
UAM Insects and Observations Portal
UAM Invertebrates Collection (GUID Prefix: UAM:Inv)
Marine and freshwater invertebrates (excluding aquatic insects) of Alaska and nearby regions. Holdings primarily consist of collections from oceanographic surveys in the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort seas.
UAM Mamm Observation Collection (GUID Prefix: UAMObs:Mamm)
The University of Alaska Museum (UAM) occasionally records non-vouchered mammal observations in Arctos, particularly of marine mammals from Alaska. Some of these are accompanied by photographs linked to the observational record.
UAM Mammals Collection (GUID Prefix: UAM:Mamm)
The University of Alaska Museum houses one of the 10 largest mammal collections in North America, with over 115,000 catalogued specimens. Over 90% of these are from Alaska and include unparalleled series of small mammals, carnivores, and marine mammals. Over 70,000 include frozen tissue samples housed in UAM's Genomic Resources facility. An average of 1,000 specimens are loaned to researchers each year.
Museum of Southwestern Biology
MSB Amphibians and Reptiles Collection (GUID Prefix: MSB:Herp)
The MSB Division of Amphibians and Reptiles contains a growing collection of over 95,000 catalogued specimens and is among the largest research collections in the western United States. A collection of 5,000 amphibians and reptiles from 1930's onwards made by William J. Koster formed the basis of the original collection. However, with the arrival of William G. Degenhardt in 1960 from Texas A&M University, a dramatic increase in holdings occurred. Through Degenhardt's own collecting efforts and those of his classes and graduate students, the division grew rapidly in size during the 1960's and 70's. Since the late 1980's, the division has become the primary repository for specimens collected as part of expanding research on the State's herpetofauna by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, and continues to receive herpetological collections provided by researchers from a variety of state and federal agencies. These extensive collections and the increased knowledge of New Mexico's herpetofauna has resulted in the publication of Amphibians and Reptiles of New Mexico (1996) by W.G. Degenhardt, C.W. Painter & A.H. Price. The collections are growing rapidly through the active research programs of curators, staff, and students, and through ongoing collaborations with other institutions and governmental agencies. Taxonomic Coverage The current collection consists of ~26% amphibian and ~74% reptile specimens. The catalogued specimens at MSB are very diverse, covering over 60 different families of amphibians and reptiles (representing over 60% of known families), and 1100 genera (representing ~74% of all known genera world-wide). Furthermore, the representation is reasonably complete, with 25 families from the collection containing over 80% of all genera from within that particular family. Several families are especially well represented in numbers of specimens, including Phrynosomatidae (>14,000), Teiidae (>9000), and Colubridae (>8000) for reptiles; and Ranidae (>4300) and Bufonidae (>4000) for amphibians. Geographic Coverage Most specimens in the collection (>51%) are from New Mexico and represent all known species occurring in the state, including one holotype and 107 paratypes of seven species. While regional in scope, MSB also possesses a large collection of specimens from Galápagos Islands of Ecuador (>7,600) and Nevada (>4,500).The holdings also contain important numbers of specimens from surrounding states including Colorado (>5400 specimens), Texas (>3600 specimens), Arizona (>3,300 specimens), and Chihuahua, Mexico (>1,000 specimens). Of particular note are the early collections from the Appalachian Plateau by G.B. Wilmott (524 salamanders), the West Indies by K.L. Jones (802 leptodactylid frogs), and the Delmarva Peninsula, New Jersey by the late Roger Conant, whose collections contain more than 1600 specimens. Temporal Coverage 1905 (beginning of 20th century) - onwards
MSB Birds Collection (GUID Prefix: MSB:Bird)
The MSB Division of Birds maintains an extensive research collection of over 40,000 bird specimens from western North America and around the world. Taxonomic coverage consists of all avian orders and approximately 85% of avian families. The oldest specimens are from the mid-1870’s, with most collected after the1950’s. The collection has grown ~6-fold since 1989, and it continues to grow rapidly through salvage and research-driven collecting. The geographical strength of the collection is the American Southwest (Texas, Arizona, New Mexico). Worldwide, the collection has important holdings from Kenya, South Africa, and Peru. Approximately 40% of the specimens have frozen tissues associated with them. All but the most recent research specimens are published online via the database Arctos. Collection highlights include: •Extensive collections from the American Southwest •Modern Andean research collections sampled from elevational transects •Synoptic series of the Birds of New Mexico for ID reference and teaching •100% of bird orders and 85% of the bird families of the world represented •The personal collection of Dale Zimmerman, donated in 2004, contributes significantly to the taxonomic and geographic scope of the collection •Collection of Amadeo Rea, upon which the book Once a River was based •Representative threatened, endangered and extinct species of North America •Raptors and game birds of J.M. Campbell •J. Stokley Ligon collections (in part)
MSB Host Collection (GUID Prefix: MSB:Host)
Data on the host organisms of parasites in the Museum of Southwestern Biology's Parasite Collection. These are mostly observations rather than specimen records, and taxonomic determinations are often based upon a parasitologist's annotation. Parasites with specimen vouchers in other Arctos collections are related to the records in those collections rather than this collection. If you recognize records in the host collection as specimens in any other collection, please notify us.
MSB Mamm Observation Collection (GUID Prefix: MSBObs:Mamm)
Mammal Observation
MSB Mammals Collection (GUID Prefix: MSB:Mamm)
Division of Mammals, Museum of Southwestern Biology, Albuquerque, NM. The Division of Mammals contains over 250,000 catalogued specimens and is among the 5 largest in the world. Specimens date back to the 1890's with the majority documenting the rapid environmental change that has occurred since 1950. The collections are taxonomically broad, representing 27 orders, 103 families, 513 genera, ~1,400 species. The majority from the Orders Rodentia (190,000), Chiroptera (25,000), Carnivora (15,000), Soricomorpha (10,000) and Artiodactyla (7,500). The collections are world-wide in scope (72 countries and all 50 US states) with particularly strong holdings from Western North America (150,000 specimens), Beringia and high latitudes (26,000 from Alaska, Russia and Canada), Mongolia (4,200 specimens and parasites), and Latin America (10,200 specimens from Bolivia 7,000 from Chile; 5,000 from Panama). The collection contains 16 holotypes, 6 paratypes, 1 syntype, 93 symbiotypes. Important collections integrated into the MSB include the USGS Biological Surveys collection (26,000), the UIMNH (Hoffmeister) Collection (33,000), Rausch Collection (4,000 specimens and parasites). Specimens range from traditional skin/skull and fluid vouchers to "holistic vouchers" containing skin, skull, post-cranial skeleton, up to seven tissue types (heart, kidney, liver, lung, spleen, muscle, blood), cell suspensions, and ecto and endo parasites. Additionally, frozen tissue samples are available for about 130,000 individual mammals and date back to the late 1970's. 37,000 specimens have serology data associated with hantavirus surveillance programs in the Americas. The MSB houses an extensive archive of field journals and catalogues that date to the 1900's and are associated with specimens held in the collection. The collections are growing rapidly through the active research programs of curators, staff and students and ongoing collaborations with other institutions and governmental agencies.
MSB Parasites Collection (GUID Prefix: MSB:Para)
Division of Parasitology at the University of New Mexico's Museum of Southwestern Biology, Albuquerque, NM. Primarily metazoan endoparasites, especially helminths, including the personal collection of Robert L. Rausch and Virginia R. Rausch. The Rausch material, plus specimens from Beringian Coevolution Project make this an important aggregation of western arctic and subarctic parasites. It vouchers an active program in global schistosome diversity, and Long-Term Ecological Research at the Sevilleta National Wildife Refuge.
DGR Arthropods Collection (GUID Prefix: DGR:Ento)
Arthropod tissues, Division of Genomic Resources, UNM, Albuquerque, NM.
DGR Birds Collection (GUID Prefix: DGR:Bird)
Bird tissues, Division of Genomic Resources, UNM, Albuquerque, NM.
DGR Fishes Collection (GUID Prefix: DGR:Fish)
Fish tissues, Division of Genomic Resources, UNM, Albuquerque, NM.
DGR Mammals Collection (GUID Prefix: DGR:Mamm)
Mammal tissues, Division of Genomic Resources, UNM, Albuquerque, NM.
Museum of Vertebrate Zoology
MVZ Birds Collection (GUID Prefix: MVZ:Bird)
The MVZ bird collection is one of the largest in the United States. It houses over 185,000 catalogued specimens, including 174 holotype and 2 syntypes. The majority of specimens are study skins, but the collection also contains over 21,000 skeletal specimens and 3,200 fluid-preserved specimens. Other types of preparations include flat specimens (wings, skins) and body skins with skeletons ("schmoos"). Tissues, anatomical parts (e.g., syrinx, stomach contents), and parasites are routinely preserved with specimens. Many specimens also are associated with cataloged audio recordings.
MVZ Collections Portal
MVZ Egg/Nest Collection (GUID Prefix: MVZ:Egg)
MVZ egg and nest specimens are catalogued separately from traditional specimens (skins, skeletons, fluids). The egg and nest collection contains over 14,000 items, including over 12,800 egg sets, 220 nests, and 900 egg-nest combinations. The size of this collection ranks it as one of the largest such collections in North America. Eggs of nest parasites (e.g., cowbirds) are present in approximately 120 sets, and 150 egg sets or nests are associated with catalogued bird specimens. Eggs in this collection range in size from the tiny eggs of hummingbirds (0.2 grams) to the gigantic eggs of the extinct elephant bird (9 kilograms). Approximately 80-90% of the specimens are accompanied by original collector data slips and by photographs of sets taken in the museum, both of which are digitally linked to the record online. These data slips contain information on collecting locality, date, clutch size, incubation, identification, nest composition, and nest placement.
MVZ Herps Collection (GUID Prefix: MVZ:Herp)
The MVZ collection of amphibians and reptiles contains over 270,000 catalogued specimens. As of 8 April 2004, 123 of these have been designated holotypes, three are neotypes, three are syntypes, and 1793 are paratypes and paratopotypes. Most specimens are fluid-preserved, but the collection also contains skeletal preparations, sets of amphibian eggs and larvae, and several thousand specimens that have been cleared and stained. Other special collections include pineal organs, 800 sectioned heads, a series of dried anuran skins from California and Argentina, and stomach contents that have been removed from more than 3,000 predatory reptiles.
MVZ Hildebrand Collection (GUID Prefix: MVZ:Hild)
The Milton Hildebrand Collection at the MVZ is a special collection of unusual specimen preparations, including freeze-dried displays of muscles, feet, tongues, and other anatomical parts. This collection was created by Milton Hildebrand, Professor Emeritus, University of California at Davis, and a former MVZ graduate student. Hildebrand developed or perfected most of the anatomical techniques used in his specimen preparations, and many items in the collection are cross-referenced to laboratory exercises in vertebrate functional morphology that he designed. The unique and often delicate nature of these anatomical preparations makes them especially valuable for teaching, but also prohibits their availability for loans.
MVZ Mammals Collection (GUID Prefix: MVZ:Mamm)
The MVZ mammal collection is the fourth largest in the United States and the second largest such collection associated with a U.S. academic institution. It contains over 230,000 skin, skull, skeleton and fluid-preserved specimens. Over 33,700 are also represented by frozen or fluid preserved tissues. The collection includes 364 type specimens, making it the fourth largest collection of such specimens in the US. Karyotype (chromosome) preparations are available for ca. 4,000 rodent specimens. These consist of slides of chromosome preparations and, in some cases, black and white photos and/or 35 mm negatives of chromosome spreads. The mammal collection also houses large series of lab-raised specimens from research by Francis B. Sumner, Richard D. Sage, and William Z. Lidicker.
MVZ Observations-Bird Collection (GUID Prefix: MVZObs:Bird)
The MVZ maintains an online catalog of bird observations vouchered with media, fieldnotes, or other documentation. These records are curated with the same minimal data standards as vouchered specimens.
MVZ Observations-Fish Collection (GUID Prefix: MVZObs:Fish)
The MVZ maintains an online catalog of fish observations vouchered with media, fieldnotes, or other documentation. These records are curated with the same minimal data standards as vouchered specimens.
MVZ Observations-Herp Collection (GUID Prefix: MVZObs:Herp)
The MVZ maintains an online catalog of herp observations vouchered with media, fieldnotes, or other documentation. These records are curated with the same minimal data standards as vouchered specimens.
MVZ Observations-Mammal Collection (GUID Prefix: MVZObs:Mamm)
The MVZ maintains an online catalog of mammal observations vouchered with media, fieldnotes, or other documentation. These records are curated with the same minimal data standards as vouchered specimens.
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
DMNS Birds Collection (GUID Prefix: DMNS:Bird)
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science Bird Collection houses approximately 45,270 specimens from around the world (1842 - present), with a focus on the Rocky Mountain and Great Plains regions. The collection includes study skins, skeletal material, taxidermy mounts, frozen tissue samples (~900 individuals), and associated parasites (ecto and endo). Growth of the collection continues primarily through salvage activities. A collection of approximately 7,000 egg sets and nests are curated separately.
DMNS Egg/Nest Collection (GUID Prefix: DMNS:Egg)
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science Egg/Nest Collection houses approximately 7,000 catalogued specimens focused primarily on the United States. The bulk of the collection was acquired as a donation of William C. Bradbury’s private collection and covers the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
DMNS Mammals Collection (GUID Prefix: DMNS:Mamm)
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science Mammal Collection houses approximately 15,000 specimens from around the world (1850 - present), with a focus on the Rocky Mountain and Great Plains regions. The collection includes study skins, skeletal material, taxidermy mounts, frozen tissue samples (2800+ individuals), and associated parasites (ecto and endo). Since 2006, the collection has expanded 21% and continues to grow.
DMNS Marine Invertebrates Collection (GUID Prefix: DMNS:Inv)
The DMNS Marine Invertebrate Collection holds a diverse group of worldwide specimens, the largest portion being marine shells followed by terrestrial and freshwater shells, corals and echinoderms. The collection dates from the early 1900's. Of the approximately 17,000 lots, nearly 15,500 are cataloged.
Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates ~ Search All CUMV Specimens
CUMV Amphibian Collection (GUID Prefix: CUMV:Amph)
The CUMV Amphibian & Reptile Collections became one of the leading university based herp collections in North America during the first half of this century, largely because of the efforts of Professor Albert Hazen Wright and his wife, Anna Allen Wright. The major strengths of the collection, amphibians from the southeastern United States and both reptiles and amphibians from the Northeast, reflects the intensive collection by the Wrights. Much of the material collected by the Wrights in New York and Georgia is not duplicated elsewhere. The last 15 years have been seen important acquisitions for the collection. To complement our traditional strength in North American taxa, we have made a concerted effort to obtain foreign material, especially synoptic series representing geographic areas. Through collecting, exchanges and acquisition of other various collections we now have good representation of Costa Rican viperids, lizards from Western and South Australia, amphibians and reptiles from Puerto Rico, snakes and lizards from Mexico, and a more representative collection of African and European species.
CUMV Bird Collection (GUID Prefix: CUMV:Bird)
The CUMV Bird Collection contains a record of the development of ornithology at Cornell from the earliest days of Arthur A. Allen and Louis Agassiz Fuertes. Dr. Arthur A. Allen, on the faculty at Cornell from 1915–1953, made the name Cornell nearly synonymous with ornithology in the United States. Allen contributed many birds to the collection, and possibly even more importantly, attracted a very large number of students interested in birds. His numerous students contributed specimens from their research and travels all over the United States, Canada, Mexico, and other parts of the world. The CU collection contain many specimens collected by of Cornell faculty such as George M. Sutton, Charles Sibley, William Dilger, and Tom Cade, but also contains student specimens of Dean Amadon, Walter Bock, F. Graham Cooch, John Emlen, Herbert Friedmann, Ludlow Griscom, Harry Hann, Robert Mengel, Eugene Morton, Ralph Palmer, Kenneth Parkes, Olin S. Pettingill, Alan Phillips, Austin Rand, James Rising, Lester Short, Stanley Temple, Harrison Tordoff, David Wingate, as well as many others. The collection has a world-wide coverage, with approximately half the species of the world's birds (Wood et al. 1982) represented, as well as a number of recently extinct species (such as the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, the Carolina Parakeet and the Passenger Pigeon). All families (Wetmore 1960) are represented except the Atrichornithidae. Specimens are present from all continents and more than 134 different countries. The collection is particularly strong in North American material; very few species that breed or regularly occur north of Mexico are missing as skins. Strongest holdings within this area are New York, Nebraska, Texas, Arizona, California, Oklahoma, Florida, South Dakota, Colorado, Manitoba, and Alaska, but all 50 US states and 10 of the Canadian provinces and territories are represented. The area of next greatest representation is Mexico, especially the states of Veracruz, Chiapas, Tamalipas, Puebla, Nuevo Leon, and Oaxaca. The collection contains much topotypical material, but no type specimens are currently kept in the collection.
CUMV Fish Collection (GUID Prefix: CUMV:Fish)
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 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. 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 (1926–1939). 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. The primary activities for the last several years has been collection building efforts directed toward African freshwater fishes.
CUMV Mammal Collection (GUID Prefix: CUMV:Mamm)
The CUMV Mammal Collection is one of the largest of New York mammals, and has a strong representation of eastern North America taxa, containing all species of land mammals in the region. With only a few exceptions, all the genera of land mammals in the United States and Canada are represented. The collections are largely the work of former professor William J. Hamilton, Jr. and his students. One hundred and two of the 136 families (Wilson & Reed 1993) are represented in the collection. Specimens are present from all continents except Antarctica and more than 100 countries. The collections are particularly strong in North American material. Strongest holdings in this region are from New York, New Jersey, Colorado, California, and Pennsylvania but 48 of the 50 US states and 10 of the Canadian Provinces and Territories are represented.
CUMV Reptile Collection (GUID Prefix: CUMV:Rept)
The CUMV Amphibian & Reptile Collections became one of the leading university based herp collections in North America during the first half of this century, largely because of the efforts of Professor Albert Hazen Wright and his wife, Anna Allen Wright. The major strengths of the collection, amphibians from the southeastern United States and both reptiles and amphibians from the Northeast, reflects the intensive collection by the Wrights. Much of the material collected by the Wrights in New York and Georgia is not duplicated elsewhere. The last 15 years have been seen important acquisitions for the collection. To complement our traditional strength in North American taxa, we have made a concerted effort to obtain foreign material, especially synoptic series representing geographic areas. Through collecting, exchanges and acquisition of other various collections we now have good representation of Costa Rican viperids, lizards from Western and South Australia, amphibians and reptiles from Puerto Rico, snakes and lizards from Mexico, and a more representative collection of African and European species.
Moore Laboratory of Zoology
MLZ Bird Collection (GUID Prefix: MLZ:Bird)
The Moore Laboratory of Zoology is located at Occidental College. The bird collection houses over 64,000 ornithological specimens. It is the largest Mexican bird collection in the world. The vast majority of the specimens are study skins (60,677), but the MLZ also contains 1,364 skeletons and 536 sets of nests and eggs. Robert T. Moore and his wife Margaret founded the MLZ in 1950, moving Moore’s personal collection from his Pasadena home to the building at Occidental College. Prominent collectors aside from Moore include Chester C. Lamb (who worked as Moore’s primary collector for decades and collected over 40,000 of the MLZ’s specimens), the Olalla Brothers and Sons, Mario del Toro Aviles, C.F. Underwood, J.T. Wright, and W.W. Brown. The collection continues its growth today with the addition of species from the western U.S. and Mexico. The bird collection’s largest holdings are from Mexico (50,000 specimens) and Ecuador (6,100 specimens). Other geographic strengths include Honduras (2,200 specimens), Guatemala (1,200 specimens), and Costa Rica (1,200 specimens). Most parts of Mexico are well-represented with the exception of Baja California and the Yucatan Peninsula. Taxonomic strengths of this collection include Emberizidae (11,699), Tyrannidae (7,552), Trochilidae (6,954), Troglodytidae (2,846), Psittacidae (734), and Trogonidae (463). Robert T. Moore described nearly all the 81 bird holotypes, paratypes, and topotypes currently present.
MLZ Mamm Collection (GUID Prefix: MLZ:Mamm)
A small but influential part of the Moore Laboratory of Zoology, this collection of over 2,000 mammals includes specimens collected by Chester C. Lamb and John C. Hafner. Many of these specimens are paired with skeletons, tissue, and chromosomal data. Strengths of the mammal collection include Rodentia (1,865) collected throughout Mexico and the United States, and Chiroptera (171), almost all from Mexico.
University of Wyoming Museum of Vertebrates
UWYMV Bird Collection (GUID Prefix: UWYMV:Bird)
The UWYMV Bird Collection is housed in the Robert and Carol Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center on the campus of the University of Wyoming. It is a part of the Department of Zoology & Physiology. The collection was started in 1894 and Wilbur C. Knight, the state geologist, was appointed as the first curator. The museum's mission was to document and describe Wyoming's avian biodiversity. There was a brief period of active collecting by Knight and Charles W. Gilmore in 1897 and 1898. This was followed by a period of inactivity until the arrival of Ernest Pilsbury Walker as an undergraduate. He collected specimens around the southeastern part of the state from 1910 through 1912. He also contributed his personal collection from Sheridan, Indiana. Beyond sporadic trading and salvaging, the collection has been mostly inactive for the past 100 years until Matt Carling was hired as curator and James Maley was hired as collections manager. The collection was moved into the Berry Center and organized, it is now undergoing rapid expansion.
UWYMV Herp Collection (GUID Prefix: UWYMV:Herp)
The UWYMV Herp Collection is a small collection of older specimens mostly from Wyoming. There are currently no genetic resources associated with this collection. The most important specimens are Wyoming Toads (Anaxyrus baxteri) collected by Baxter on the Laramie plains.
UWYMV Mamm Collection (GUID Prefix: UWYMV:Mamm)
The UWYMV Mammal Collection is focused regionally on Wyoming and taxonomically on muskrats, deer mice, and bobcats. There are small series of a variety of mammals from throughout the Rocky Mountain region. The collection is currently undergoing rapid expansion.
Western New Mexico University
WNMU Birds Collection (GUID Prefix: WNMU:Bird)
Western New Mexico University houses a regional collection of bird specimens (about 1100 specimens) focused on the biodiversity of southwestern New Mexico. This collection is part of the Gila Center for Natural History within the Department of Natural Sciences. The collection currently is static, with no growth since 1993.
WNMU Fishes Collection (GUID Prefix: WNMU:Fish)
Western New Mexico University houses a regional collection of fish specimens (about 400 lots of specimens) focused on the biodiversity of southwestern New Mexico, primarily the Mimbres, Gila, and San Francisco river drainages. This collection is part of the Gila Center for Natural History within the Department of Natural Sciences. The collection has grown slowly with incorporation of new specimens.
WNMU Mammals Collection (GUID Prefix: WNMU:Mamm)
Western New Mexico University houses a regional collection of mammal specimens (about 7000 specimens) focused on the biodiversity of southwestern New Mexico, with additional representatives of African and South American mammal faunas. This collection is part of the Gila Center for Natural History within the Department of Natural Sciences. The collection has grown slowly with incorporation of new specimens.
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
KNWR ENTO Collection (GUID Prefix: KNWR:Ento)
KNWR Entomology Collection
KNWR Herb Collection (GUID Prefix: KNWR:Herb)
KNWR Herbarium Collection
Other Collections
Alaska Lepidoptera Collection (GUID Prefix: KWP:Ento)
Kenelm W. Philip lepidoptera collection
All Collections Portal
COA Birds Collection (GUID Prefix: COA:Bird)
COA Birds
COA Collections Portal
COA Eggs Collection (GUID Prefix: COA:Egg)
COA Eggs
COA Herps Collection (GUID Prefix: COA:Herp)
COA Herps
COA Insects Collection (GUID Prefix: COA:Ento)
COA Insects
COA Mammals Collection (GUID Prefix: COA:Mamm)
COA Mammals
CRCM Birds Collection (GUID Prefix: CRCM:Bird)
Charles R. Connor Museum, Pullman, WA.
HWML Para Collection (GUID Prefix: HWML:Para)
Harold W. Manter Laboratory of Parasitology Collection
NBSB Bird Collection (GUID Prefix: NBSB:Bird)
STAMP seabird egg collection
NMU Birds Collection (GUID Prefix: NMU:Bird)
Northern Michigan University Bird Collection
NMU Collections Portal
NMU Fishes Collection (GUID Prefix: NMU:Fish)
Northern Michigan University Fish Collection
NMU Invertebrates Collection (GUID Prefix: NMU:Ento)
Northern Michigan University Invertebrate Collection
NMU Mammals Collection (GUID Prefix: NMU:Mamm)
Northern Michigan University Mammal Collection
NMU Plants Collection (GUID Prefix: NMU:Herb)
Northern Michigan University Plant Collection
PSU Mamm Collection (GUID Prefix: PSU:Mamm)
Portland State University Mammal Collection
UMNH Birds Collection (GUID Prefix: UMNH:Bird)
UMNH Birds
UMNH Collections Portal
UMNH Entomology Collection (GUID Prefix: UMNH:Ento)
UMNH Entomology
UMNH Herpetology Collection (GUID Prefix: UMNH:Herp)
UMNH Herpetology
UMNH Malacology Collection (GUID Prefix: UMNH:Mala)
UMNH Malacology
UMNH Mammals Collection (GUID Prefix: UMNH:Mamm)
UMNH Mammals
USNPC Parasites Collection (GUID Prefix: USNPC:Para)
U. S. National Parasite Collection's holdings from Robert L. Rausch and Virginia R. Rausch. The collection is run by the U. S. Department of Agriculture. This is not the entire holdings of the USNPC.
UWBM Herp Collection (GUID Prefix: UWBM:Herp)
The herpetological collection at the Burke Museum contains over 8,000 specimens of amphibians and reptiles. The collection has particularly strong geographic representation of the Pacific Northwest. More than 2,200 specimens are forest-dwelling amphibians from Western Washington obtained during wildlife studies in the 1980s and early 1990s. About 900 are garter snakes collected during the mid-1900s. In 2010, Dr. Adam Leaché joined the Burke Museum as Curator of Genetic Resources and Herpetology. The entire collection was inventoried, catalogued, and georeferenced. This transition made the Burke Herpetology data searchable and mappable to the public for the first time. The geographic scope of the collection has expended greatly since 2010, and new collections from Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Ghana are now available that reflect active research programs by herpetology staff. The collection consists largely of alcohol-reserved specimens with a small number of photographs and skeletons. Genetic resources are available for all specimens collected since 2010.



Arctos may be thought of as a number of overlapping nodes.

Arctos is currently two systems sharing the same code. One is a multi-hosting version that includes collections at the University of Alaska Museum of the North, the University of New Mexico's Museum of Southwestern Biology, Western New Mexico State University, the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. A second server at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology hosts MCZ's Herp collection, with more collections coming soon.

Arctos is rooted in the Collections Information System at MVZ. Development efforts are shared, and programming is freely available.

Collections or institutions interested in having their data hosted in Arctos, or interested in participating in the development of Arctos should review the participation guidelines, then contact us for additional information.

System Requirements
We attempt to keep the client-side of Arctos applications as generic as possible, but we have made some exceptions:

Browser Compatibility

Data Usage
The collections data available through Arctos are separately copyrighted © 2001 - 2011 by the University of Alaska Museum of the North (University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK), and by the Museum of Southwestern Biology (University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM), the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (University of California, Berkeley, CA), and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (Denver, CO). All rights are reserved. These data are intended for use in education and research and may not be repackaged, redistributed, or sold in any form without prior written consent from the appropriate museum(s). Those wishing to include these data in analyses or reports must acknowledge the provenance of the original data, notify the appropriate curator, and should ask questions prior to publication. These are secondary data, and their accuracy is not guaranteed. Citation of Arctos is no substitute for examination of specimens. The data providers are not responsible for loss or damages due to use of these data.


Q: I hear Arctos is really complicated. What's up with that?
A: Arctos is complicated, as are the data it strives to accurately represent. There is a steep learning curve to understanding all functionality. Basic functionality - such as that available from other collections management systems - is pretty simple, and we think we do a pretty good job of making it intuitive. Perhaps more noticeable is the level of precision required to use Arctos. Rather than (mis!)typing a string, you may have to pick a value from a list, or you may have to supply metadata qualifying your assertions. We strongly believe that this is a necessary part of managing the specimens and data with which we have been entrusted.
Q: Where can I find more information about Arctos?
Q: Are these live data?
A: Almost. Live data are stored in a highly normalized relational structure - fabulous for organization, not so hot for query. Some data are then optimized for query performance by way of Database Triggers. Presentation data are generally less than one minute stale.
Q: Is there a limit on the number of records I can return in a search?
A: We impose no strict limits. Queries almost always take less than 5 seconds. Getting the data to your browser often then becomes a bottleneck. If you have a reasonably fast browser and connection, it should be possible to return at least 100,000 basic records with a single query. Let us know if you find something excessively slow.
Q: What's a VPD?
A: A Virtual Private Database allows us to share resources, like programmers and hardware, along with some data, such as Taxonomy and Agents. We all end up with more than we could afford by ourselves, and operators generally can't tell that they're in a shared environment.
Q: What's Media? Can I store images or video in Arctos?
Media, loosely defined, is anything you can produce a URI for. Web pages, Internet-accessible images, and documents stored on FTP sites are all potentially Media. Media may form relationships with any "node" in Arctos.
Arctos proper offers little in the way of storage. However, we have a partnership with the Texas Advanced Computing Center which provides us access to essentially unlimited storage space. Arctos currently links to around 10 terabytes of Media, primarily high-resolution images of ALA herbarium sheets and historical MVZ images, both on TACC's servers.
Q: Why Oracle and ColdFusion?
Because they work. We've tried many other solutions along the way. Oracle is rock-solid and stable, and allows us to do things like share/control data via VPDs, maintain current data to our query environments, and sleep at night. ColdFusion is a very robust rapid development environment that fits our programming style perfectly while providing very close to 100% uptime and reliability. On a more practical level, implementing an open-source solution would necessitate hiring at least one additional person to mange software, while compromising stability and security.
Q: How does Arctos compare with Specify?
While sharing a common ancestor, Arctos and Specify now differ almost every level - software, hardware, security model, data model, development strategy, and support community. A comparison is available.
Q: What about security and backups?
Arctos has multiple levels of security. A lightweight application security package controls access to forms, while Oracle partitions data by user, roles, and context, and provides auditing. Incremental backup logs are maintained on mirrored disks, and daily backups are maintained in 3 geographically separate secure locations.

The utility of Arctos results from user input. If you have a suggestion to make, let's hear it. We accommodate many special requests through custom forms or custom queries, and many of these are then incorporated into Arctos. Please contact us if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions.

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