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Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology / Collections

   Education and Conservation through Preservation
eider study skins

An array of male eider study skins, from top left clockwise, Spectaled Eider, Stellar's Eider, Common Eider and King Eider.


Our holdings include approximately 50,000 specimens of fishes, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals.

To query the collections electronic database click here or go to

The Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology (MWFB) was founded in 1972, but has a complex history with holdings, from several orphaned collections, some with specimens dating back to the late 1800s. It houses one of the most significant, modern collections of vertebrates in California (approximately 40,000 specimens). The museum is engaged in several research and long-term monitoring efforts providing a steady stream of materials and growth primarily in California. Other regions of current collection development include North America (mid-Atlantic, Texas, Washington, and New Mexico), South America (Chile), and the Hawaiian Islands (birds). The MWFB has geographic representation from Central America (Belize, Mexico, and Panama), Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Hawaiian Islands. In addition to internal expansion, its importance as a vertebrate museum has benefited from the acquisition of three orphaned collections: the UC Davis Zoology collection, the University of California, Irvine Museum of Systematic Biology, and the Mills College collection.  Recently, specimens have been acquired from the Point Reyes Bird Observatory (an osteology collection of seabirds from the Pacific Rim and Antarctica) and the American River Community College (Sacramento, California) bird collection.

Researchers may schedule a visit to the MWFB by contacting our collections manager, Irene E. Engilis at

Click on one of the following links below to find out more information about the MWFB collections.


We've recently acquired the historic UCD Zoology Department's herpetology collection with over 6,000 specimens of amphibians and reptiles. Please contact our collections manager for more information.

fluid preserved fish specimens
western gull study skins chipmunk specimens  

With over 20,000 specimens, the MWFB Ichthyology Collection is the the largest university based collection in the state. Click here for more information.

The bird collection remains one of our primary strengths.  The museum houses nearly 13,000 specimens with a primary emphasis in California and Western North America. Click here for more information.

The mammal collection is a rapidly expanding element of the MWFB. The museum houses nearly 11,000 specimens with a primary emphasis in California and Western North America. Click here for more information.