Division of Mammals

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Division of Mammals
Museum of Southwestern Biology
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131
Division of Mammals
Museum of Southwestern Biology
CERIA Building 83 Room 204
302 Yale Blvd NE
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Scope of the Collection

holistic voucher

Geographic Breadth

The collection is world-wide in scope (78 countries and all 50 US states) with particularly strong holdings from the Southwestern United States, Beringia, Central Asia, and Latin America.

Taxonomic Breadth

Representatives from 27 orders, 106 families, 531 genera, ~1,,700 species. The majority from the Orders Rodentia (227,000), Chiroptera (26,000), Carnivora (19,000), Soricomorpha (14,000), and Artiodactyla (7,700).

Temporal Range

The collection contains specimens dating back to 1890, with the major holdings documenting the rapid environmental change from 1950’s on.

Preparation Types

Skin, skull, post-cranial skeletal, fluid preserved whole organisms, frozen tissue (heart, kidney, liver, lung, spleen, muscle, blood, ear clips), cell suspensions, karyotype test slides, parasites (endo and ecto).

Type Specimens

The collection contains 85 holotypes or paratypes, 22 viral symbiotypes, and 179 parasite symbiotypes.


The MSB houses an extensive archive of field journals and catalogues that date to the 1900’s and are associated with specimens held in the collection.


Our average increase in catalogued specimens is approximately 10,000 per year.


Each year we process about 70 loans to researchers worldwide containing approximately 2,500 traditional voucher specimens or tissues.

Publications Citing MSB Mammal Specimens

Approximately 50 peer reviewed publications or dissertation/theses cite MSB specimens annually.

Educational Use

On average annually, 20 UNM courses and 10 K-12 schools make use of or visit the collections for coursework or presentations/tours.

Major Holdings of the Division of Mammals


200,000 specimens from the United States

  • 170,000 from the Southwest (NM, AZ, TX, UT, CO, NV, CA)

36,000 specimens from high latitudes

  • 19,800 from Alaska
  • 13,000 from Canada
  • 3,400 from Siberia 

24,000 specimens from South America

  • 10,200 from Bolivia
  • 7,000 from Chile
  • 5,700 from Argentina
  • 400 from Brazil
  • 400 from Ecuador
  • 300 from Peru
  • 250 from Paraguay
Jon in the field

18,200 specimens from Mexico and Central America

  • 7,700 specimens from Mexico
  • 9,200 from Panama
  • 770 from Costa Rica
  • 150 from Honduras

8,300 specimens from Central and SE Asia

  • 6,500 from Mongolia
  • 700 from Japan
  • 500 from China
  • 280 from Indonesia
  • 250 from Malaysia

3,300 specimens from Africa

  • 1600 from Guinea
  • 850 from Zambia
  • 725 from Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire)

2,500 specimens from Europe

  • 1,800 from Hungary
  • 400 from Sweden
  • 150 from Finland
  • 70 from Greece

Major Acquisitions of the Division of Mammals

Four large collections have been recently integrated into the MSB:

  • University of Illinois Museum of Natural History collection - 33,000 specimens from SW US, Alaska, Latin America collected primarily by Donald Hoffmeister and Woody Goodpaster.

  • The Robert L. Rausch collection - 4,000 specimens from Alaska, Russia, and Canada which voucher his incomparable parasite collection now housed in the MSB Division of Parasitology.

  • 3,500 frozen tissues from specimens currently held in the NM Museum of Natural History and Science. Many from David Hafner’s work on high elevation Pika and desert taxa of Baja California

  • 30,000 mammal specimens owned by the U.S. Geological Survey were integrated into the MSB collection in 2015. The collection contains large numbers of bats and rodents from Federal lands.