Type specimens and authentically identified reference collections are very important for any taxonomic work as they form the basis for accurate and reliable identi­fication. As such the Zoological Survey of India is taking care and maintaining a large collection of identified specimens of all groups of animals from microscopic Protozoa to huge elephants and whales. This collection is a priceless wealth of the country and is called the National Zoological Collection".

The zoological collections of the Asiatic Society of Bengal and the Indian Museum were acquired by the Survey on its inception in the year 1916 and since then the Survey has acted as the custodian of these collections.

At present the holding consists of nearly one million specimens of about 70,000 species. The fauna of the Indian region (i.e., India, Pakistan, Bangla Desh, Burma, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka) is nearly 8 percent of the world fauna and approximately 90,000 species are recorded from this region, as such, these collections are by far the best for any taxonomic work and it is not out of scope to mention that this is the biggest collection in South-East-Asia. In fact, the Survey is the only institution in Asia which can boast of having specimens from countries such as Myanmar, Kampuchea, etc. to obtain or make fresh collections from these countries impossible. The collections also include about 15,000 type specimens such as holotypes, paratypes, syntypes, etc. which are unique and of highest scientific importance. For the species not represented in the collections, all efforts are being made to have them represented so as to make the collection a complete one in all respects. The specimens are preserved in a variety of ways, in spirit or other liquid chemical media (snakes, fishes, molluscs, coelenterates, crustaceans, etc.), as dry specimens (insects, birds and mammals as rolled and stuffed specimens, bones, etc.) and on glass slides (Protozoa, helminths, and many other insects etc.).

All the specimens are registered, giving details of the locality from which collected, the name of the collector, the date of collection and other relevant data. A refer­ence card catalogue is maintained separately for the types and the general collections. A card catalogue is also maintained for the types deposited in other different repositories in the country and in other adjacent countries i.e., Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Myanmar. This work was undertaken under the UNESCO project on "Key Zoolo­gical Collections".

For the development of National Collections, the scientists of the department have been making all efforts to develop contacts with workers on various groups in the country and abroad, to obtain their material through exchange and donation and it is due to this that such a well represented collection of the Indian and foreign fauna has been developed. For the benefit of research workers and the cause of science, loan of collections both determined and undetermined are given for study purpose and similarly scientists of Survey, who have developed some expertise, receive collections from outside institutes for study and this has also helped in a big way in the development of the National Zoological Collections. An appeal has also been made to all zoological institutions including universities in the country to deposit types in the National Collections, in the Zoological Survey of India.

Lower Invertebrate Division = 36,515 (Specimens)
(Protozoa, Platyhelminthes Nemathelminthes)
Mollusca Division 2,46,910 (Specimens)
Entomology Division 8,22,286 (Specimens)
(CEL, Coleoptera, Hymenoptera Lcpidoptera, Isoptera, Apterygota, Hemiptera, Orthoptera & Miscellaneous Orders)
Crustacea Division 71,189 (Specimens)
Arachnology Division 33,450 (Specimens)
(Arachnida & Acarology)
Gen. Non-Chordata Division 77,585 (Specimens)
Higher Chordata Division 50426 (Specimens)
(Birds & Mammals)
Fish Division 8,14,200 (Specimens)
(Freshwater & Marine)
Herpetology Division 57,698 (Specimens)
(Amphibia, Reptilia)
Paleozoology Division 42,500 (Specimens)
Paleozoology Division 42,500 (Specimens)
Paleozoology Division 42,500 (Specimens)
Paleozoology Division 42,500 (Specimens)
Paleozoology Division 42,500 (Specimens)