The zoological collections contain over 10 000 vertebrates and 14 000 invertebrate specimens. On exhibit are an impressive two-meter long Japanese spider crab, a spectacular skeleton of a Minke whale and the Abe Levine collection of shells which features such rarities as the small but valuable Golden Cowrie. Exhibits in the Dawson Gallery showcase the Biodiversity of Quebec, from the boreal forest to urban backyards, endangered mammal species, such as the lion, gorilla and wolf, extinct bird species such as the Passenger pigeon and invasive invertebrates such as Zebra mussels.
Excel versions of some of the electronic catalogues are available here for each division. This page is still under construction since we are still in the process of updating the catalogues.
The mammalian collection of skins and skulls is strong in the small mammals of Quebec and eastern Canada and it contains representatives of almost every order of mammals. The mammal collection includes bones of the Steller's Sea Cow (Hydromalis gigas, extinct 1768).
The Ornithological collection numbers approximately 1500 specimens; it contains representatives of 25 of the 27 orders of birds. The collection of older, mounted birds came from the Natural History Society of Montreal when its museum closed in 1926. The collection possesses specimens of several extinct species, a mount of an immature male labrador Duck (Captorhynchus labradorius), a Carolina Parakeet (Cornuropsis carolinensis), isolated bones of the Dodo (Raphus cucullatus), and several endangered species, including the Eskimo Curlew (Nmenilus borealis).
Reptiles & Amphibians
The Herpetology Collection is worldwide in scope with emphasis on amphibians from Canada, the Caribbean, and New Zealand. It has an extensive frozen collection of preserved tissues for genetic research.
The fish collection consists of both adult (approximately 1100 lots) and larval (approximately 400 lots) forms. The salt water fishes are chiefly from the Caribbean, the Indo-Pacific and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The fresh water species originate mainly from the Great Lakes and Lake Memphremagog in southeastern Quebec. The larval fishes are from Barbados and the Gulf and estuary of the St. Lawrence River.
All groups except the chelicerates and insects (held in the Lyman Museum of Macdonald campus) are represented in the invertebrate collection. Over 2000 lots of sponges are held, mainly from the Caribbean, as well as a complete survey and collection of Quebec fresh water sponges. Reiswig has assembled the world's largest reference collection of deep sea "glass" sponges, Hexactinellida. This includes samples from type specimens from the major museums as well as material collected from deep sea submersible expeditions. Among the corals are specimens from all over the world with a strong emphasis on species from the Caribbean, especially near Barbados.
There are approximately 30 000 lots of molluscs: the museum holds the Carpenter collection (donated 1867), international in scope), the Mickles-Conde Collection (donated 1948, mainly Caribbean and Florida), a Dawson collection (mainly eastern Canada) and the Levine Collection (donated 1995, worldwide).