What is a Lot?

Fishes in the Australian Museum Fish Collection are counted in numbers of specimens and lots. The number of specimens count is an obvious way to assess the size of the collection. The number of lots is another measure of collection size that is often used in natural history collections.

Sea Mullet, Mugil cephalus

Mark McGrouther © Australian Museum

A lot is any number of specimens of a single species collected at the same place and time, by the same collectors, using the same method. For example, the Sea Mullet in the top image to the right, which was caught at Hastings Point in December 2002, is a single lot (AMS I.41874-009).

The school of Striped Catfish (if collected) would also be one lot. The Sea Mullet and Striped Catfish together are two lots (containing numerous specimens).

A fictional collection of one million specimens in only 10 lots, would obviously contain an enormous number of specimens of only a few species. Conversely a collection such as the Australian Museum Ichthyology Collection, which contains well over a million specimens in nearly 200,000 lots, has a much higher diversity in number of species, collecting localities and dates of collection.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
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Tags fishes, ichthyology, specimens, lots,