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The University of New Mexico

Amphibians & Reptiles

With more than 95,000 specimens, the Division of Amphibians & Reptiles has steadily grown to become one of the largest herpetological collections in the western US. Personnel and associates conduct research in the American Southwest and throughout Latin America. The division is the primary repository of specimens for the New Mexico Dept. of Game and Fish.


Division of Arthropods maintains collections of specimens gathered worldwide. These serve as the basis for discovery of new species and systematic studies of amazing diversity. More than 350 families and 2,300 species are represented in this rapidly growing arthropod collection.


The Division of Birds contains more than 40,000 specimens, which represent all bird orders and 85 percent of bird families. The collection contains historic specimens of threatened, endangered, and extinct species such as the passenger pigeon. The largest holdings are from the American Southwest, Peru, and South America.


The Division of Fishes has 95,000 cataloged lots of fishes - more than 4 million individual specimens. Collections of eggs, larvae, and adults aid in the study of the specialized ecology of desert fishes. The division is the primary repository for academic and agency biologists in New Mexico.

Genomic Resources

The Division of Genomic Resources (DGR) maintains more than 460,000 archived tissue samples and nucleic acids from over 200,000 specimens of mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish. The DGR collection is global in scope, representing taxa from over 30 countries. Our mission is to maintain a permanent reference archive of frozen tissues and DNA to aid in understanding the complexity of biological diversity and to address critical biological problems such as emerging pathogens, habitat degradation, pollution, climate change, and invasive species.


The herbarium houses 130,000 plant specimens dating back to the 1800s. The collection primarily contains vascular plants, but it also contains lichen, mosses, and fungi. The herbarium also has a library, reprint collection, and a laboratory for cytogenetics.


With more than 265,000 specimens, this division is among the world's five largest mammal collections. Specimens represent more than 1,650 species from localities all over the world, with especially large holdings from Panama, Boliva, Siberia, Mongolia, Alaska, Canada, and the American Southwest.


The Division of Parasitology holds the third largest collection of parasites in North America. There are nearly 30,000 cataloged parasites, including a growing schistosome archive. This collection is unique in that most parasites are tied directly to the host specimen, allowing powerful integrated views of coevolution.

Natural Heritage New Mexico

Natural Heritage New Mexico (NHNM) does research on the conservation and sustainable management of New Mexico's biodiversity. We have New Mexico's only state-wide rare species and ecosystems database (NM Biotics) which helps shape conservation efforts. NHNM does biology research and education in the context of conservation and climate change.

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The Museum of Southwestern Biology is a research and teaching facility in the Department of Biology at the University of New Mexico.

open weekdays 8am - 5pm
visitors welcome by appointment
information for visitors

phone: (505) 277-1360
fax: (505) 277-1351
museum administrator

Museum of Southwestern Biology
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

University of New Mexico
302 Yale Blvd NE
CERIA 83, Room 204
Albuquerque, NM, USA 87131

Remounting Historical Collections at the UNM Herbarium:

The Brother Arsène Collection

The Bee Plant, Peritoma serrulata, attracts pollinators including a Sphynx moth (Hyles lineata) and two bee species (a sweat bee, Agopostemon sp. and a mining bee, Colletes sp.). The Museum of Southwestern Biology captures these important interactions by preserving examples of these species for research, education, and as a historical record of the natural history of the Southwest.

One older specimen, pictured here, was collected by two French monks, Brother Benedict (Marcellin Marien Lacas) and Brother Arsène (Arsène Gustave Joseph Brouard) who lived in Santa Fe in the 1920s and 30s. Their historically important collection of nearly 2000 plants was donated to the Museum of Southwestern Biology by the College of Santa Fe and is now being restored.

This Bee Plant specimen was collected 89 years ago and recently remounted on acid-free paper to ensure that the entire collection will allow future generations to enjoy and study these early records. The collection preserves not only the plant and its label, but also the sense of wonder of two men who independently made journeys from France to the New World and the American frontier via Cuba and Mexico. Just as a work of art can capture a time and place and sense of connection to a landscape, this Rocky Mountain Bee Plant captures the devotion and curiosity within two naturalists’ lives by preserving their aesthetic and attention to the world that they lived in. Many plants mounted on acidic paper suffer some degradation associated with the passage of time using non-archival materials. Now stored on new paper in cool dry conditions, these specimens should be around for research and re-discovery for generations.

All sheets were imaged in their original condition and the original label has been preserved in an acid-free fragment pack. Curating old specimens is time consuming but rewarding. Old or new, our specimens are available to interested visitors to the Museum of Southwestern Biology, and through their images, now to our global web community.

read more

an Albuqueruque Journal article about the aquisition

an article published online about this historical collection

a list of Brother Arséne Brouard's writings

past news stories is neither affiliated with the authors of this page nor responsible for its contents. This is a safe-cache copy of the original web site.