two long rows of jarred ichthyology specimens with two people in back, center looking at a jar

Ichthyology Collections

The University of Kansas Ichthyology collection contains more than 680,000 specimens and approximately 11,000 tissues of fishes from around the world.

Collection Highlights

The Ichthyology collection at the Biodiversity Institute includes more than 680,000 specimens of fishes. While the collection features many types of fishes from across the world such as Ecuador, Fiji, and Nicaragua, the ichthyology collection concentrates on freshwater fish from the Midwest. 

One of the most important freshwater species is the Topeka Shiner (Notropis topeka), a threatened species of minnow in Kansas that is found along the Mississippi drainage and thought to have lost 70% of its occurrence in the last 40-50 years.  It once inhabited all major drainages in Kansas but is now restricted to the Flint Hills headwater streams in the Cottonwood and Kansas River drainages.

Collection Areas


The Biodiversity Institute Ichthyology division loans specimens and gifts tissue subsamples to qualified research organizations all over the world.

Collection Strengths

The fish collection has representation from 3,249 taxa (308 families and 1,310 genera) and 97 countries including Ecuador, Fiji, Mexico, Nepal, Nicaragua, and various marine localities.