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Fishes of Texas Project Documentation

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Much of our extensive digital library of images and documentation was created and is maintained by Fishes of Texas Project staff by scanning and photographing original documents and specimens housed in museum collections. We have also contracted artists and photographers to provide other useful content. And now, materials may be contributed directly by collectors and the general public via the website's online uploading tools or (in special cases where users have too much material to upload manually), by sending it to Fishes of Texas staff for bulk upload. Below are examples of some to the materials we provide via our website.

All images found in this website, except illustrations by Mr. Joseph Tomelleri, may be used in other applications providing this source is acknowledged (see User Responsibility and Disclaimers).

Illustrations by Joseph Tomelleri

We provide hundreds of excellent illustrations by Joseph Tomelleri who painstakingly creates them on the basis of measurements, meristics, and color photographs taken of live specimens at the time of collection. Visit his website for permission to use any of his illustrations.

Micropterus treculii by Joe TomelleriDionda nigrotaeniata by Joe Tomelleri


We provide high quality x-rays (most produced using equipment at The Academy of Natural Science in Philadelphia) of some of our records (mostly catfish from the western drainages of Texas). These x-rays are important since catfish identification is often dependent on osteological characters. We also provide x-rays of examples of all of Texas' Poeciliid species.

X-ray of Trogloglanis pattersoni tissue mass containing bonesX-ray of Anguilla rostrata


Live Fishes in Natural Habitats
We provide Garold Sneegas' in situ photographs of fishes in their natural habitats taken using scuba and snorkeling equipment.

Whole Specimens and Jar Contents

We attempt to provide at least one photograph of a preserved specimen for every species known to occur in Texas, and are now systematically photographing all fish lots housed at the Texas Natural History Collection as well as some in other museums. These photographs typically contain all specimens in each lot, or in cases where a lot contains very many specimens, a representative sample illustrating the size range, specimen quality and sexes present. All jar labels and other contents associated with the lot are included in the photographs. To see a gallery view of our specimen images go to our GBIF gallery.

For some species we have also taken and provide close-ups of critical anatomical features useful for identification. In the near future these photos will be incorporated into our identification keys.

Gonopodia of all Texas' Gambusia Species and many other Texas Poeciliids

Brian Langerhans at North Carolina State University provided excellent high resolution photographs of most of Texas' Poeciliids, including gonopodial (male anal fin) anatomy details. For many Poeciliids gonopodium structure is critical for positive identification to the species level.

Gonopodium of Gambusia sp.


Collectors often take photographs of the habitats from which they collect specimens. Unfortunately, there is not a strong tradition of such photos being deposited in museum archives and associated with specimens collected at the same time and place. Digital photography, however, now facilitates deposition in collections of photos along with specimens, and it is also easily possible to scan potentially very valuable historic photographs to digital formats and retrospectively re-associate them to the specimen records.

Unfortunately, we currently have very few fish habitat photos in this website, but are anxious to build our collection, especially of historic photos. We especially encourage collectors who have deposited specimens in collections to now contribute any photos they may have taken during those collecting events. We encourage users to these and other collecting event photos to us via e-mail with date, photographer and detailed location information. Later versions of the website will allow users to make uploads of such photos without going through Fishes of Texas staff.

Ancillary Documentation from Museum Archives

Collectors Field Notes

Most ichthyologists (and "ologists" of other disciplines) take notes on their field activities at the time of collection and deposit them in museums together with their specimens. We have scanned all field notes for Texas collections that are deposited in our own (TNHC) collection, and photographed, scanned or obtained many from other museums to result in a now large and continually growing collection of fieldnotes provided through this site.

Jar Labels

Specimen jars in museum collections usually include labels made by the original collectors and others generated via the accession/cataloging phase of processing them into collections. Others may add labels with determination notes and/or other useful comments when they subsequently examine specimens. It is not unusual to discover information on jar labels that is not recorded in museum catalogs. Unfortunately, many kinds of labels degrade over time, so as we examine specimens we attempt to photograph all jar labels and link those photos to our database records. Some examples of jar label photos follow.

Time-lapse occurrence videos

We produced species occurrence accumulation video-maps depicting collection history in decadal increments, plotted against a background of all records in the database, for most species in the Fishes of Texas database. The videos incorporate occurrences that have been subjected to our extensive verification/editing steps including specimen re-determinations (see how we processed data). Videos start in 1830 to incorporate date uncertainty of some records (see how we processed dates). Indicated year is the first of each decade. Small gray dots are all samples of all species and larger colored dots are occurrences of this species: red = 'suspect' - likely error in species determination or locality; green = 'verified' - species determination verified by specimen inspection by FoTX staff; blue = 'un-verified' by FoTX but no obvious reason to doubt. These videos, when available, are on our species accounts pages and best accessed from our Checklist tab. Below is a screen capture from the video of Erimyzon sucetta for the decade of 1990.

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