SAIAB is the custodian of the National Fish Collection of South Africa. The collection consists of about 80 000 lots of fish specimens (containing at least 650 000 individual fish specimens) from southern Africa and surrounding oceans, and from elsewhere in the world. It is the world’s largest collection of southern African fishes.
As well as adult and larval specimens preserved in propanol and ethanol (the vast majority), the collection and associated material consists of preparations of genetic material, cleared and stained preparations, dry skins and skeletons, otoliths, X-rays, photographs, drawings and paintings of fishes.
About 7500 species in about 400 families are represented in the collection.