The Illinois Natural History Survey Crustacean Collection is one of the largest state collections of crustaceans in North America.

The collection contains primary types of 13 species and secondary types of 20 species. The collection contains over 135,000 specimens and 17,500 lots of approximately 400 species in 30 families. Almost all are from North America. About 50% of the collection is from Illinois; the remainder is mostly from the southeastern United States.  The best represented groups are crayfishes, shrimps, scuds, slaters, and pill bugs.  A few lots of marine crustaceans found along the North American coastline are also present in the collection. We also maintain a tissue collection that contains high quality tissues from a portion of our vouchered specimens, mostly those collected after 1998.


Some of our oldest specimens were collected in the late 1800’s by Stephen A. Forbes. They formed the basis for the first article to appear in the Survey’s Bulletin “List of Illinois Crustacea.” More specimens were collected during the first half of the 1900’s in conjunction with the insect surveys organized by Herbert H. Ross. A large part of the collection comes from specimens collected from 1972 to 1982 for Lawrence M. Page’s “The Crayfishes and Shrimps (Decapoda) of Illinois” published in 1985.  Since that time, significant collections have been made documenting the spread of invasive crayfishes in Illinois and surveying the states of Missouri, Kentucky and Alabama.  We’ve also recently acquired statewide collections of Missouri and Nebraska crayfishes.

Location and Access

The collection is housed on the third floor of the Natural Resources Building on the campus of the University of Illinois .  Adjacent lab space and workrooms are available for visiting researchers.

Access to the collection by qualified researchers, normally available from 8:30am–5pm M–F may be arranged by contacting the collection manager, Dr. Enrique Santoyo Brito or curator, Dr. Chris Taylor.

Specimen Loans and Data Requests

Specimen loans are available to qualified researchers.  Loans are generally made for a period of one year, renewable upon request. To request a loan or data please contact Dr. Chris Taylor or Dr. Enrique Santoyo Brito.

Limited locality data for the entire collection holdings are accessible via our local database search interface. For detailed specimen information, please contact the curator, Dr. Chris Taylor.

Details of the collection policy may be seen here.