Please note that on Sunday, October 20, NHM will close to the public at 2 pm, for the 16th Annual Haunted Museum event. We apologize for any inconvenience.


ichthyology specimen research and collections department

The Natural History Museum's fish collection is one of ten internationally recognized ichthyological collections in the United States. The collection contains nearly three million catalogued specimens, including representatives of most fish families.  We also hold special collections of fish eggs and larvae, otoliths, frozen tissues, skeletons, cleared and stained specimens, and radiographs, in addition to an extensive book and reprint library.

Taxonomic strengths of the collection include deepsea, luminescent Stomiiformes (dragonfishes, viperfishes) and Myctophiformes (lanternfishes); freshwater Ostariophysi, particularly Siluriformes (catfish), Cypriniformes (carp), and Characiformes (characins); Anguilliformes (eels); Scorpaeniformes (scorpionfishes, lionfishes and stonefishes); and extensive holdings of Perciformes, particularly Gobiidae (gobies), Apogonidae (cardinalfishes), Blenniidae, Clinidae and Labrisomidae (blennies), Exocoetidae (flyingfishes), Labridae (wrasses), Pomacentridae (damselfishes), Scienidae (croakers), and Serranidae (basses).  

Our geographic emphasis is the Pacific Rim, with particular strengths in fishes from the Eastern Pacific, Galapagos, Hawaiian, and Philippine islands, the Antarctic, and the freshwaters of North, Central, and South America. 


Our collection has been used to study the systematics and taxonomy of many groups of fishes and to describe new species.  We have many records and collections of rare, non-native, and introduced species, including new additions to the California fauna due to El Niño and other global events. 


The collection is available in VertNet, iDigBio, and GBIF.  Our institution code is LACM and our collection code is Fish.


Our Staff

Collections Manager, Ichthyology
Rick Feeney

Rick Feeney specializes in collection database management and studies larval development of freshwater and marine fishes, including sculpins (Cottidae) and suckers (Catostomidae).

Curator Emerita, Ichthyology
Christine Thacker, Ph.D.

Curator Emerita Dr. Christine Thacker joined the Natural History Museum in 1998 after receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Dr. Thacker’s research concerns the evolution, systematics, and biogeography of gobies and cardinalfishes.


Questions? Contact Rick Feeney at or call 213.763.3374