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Susan Braxton
Prairie Research Institute Librarian
Funk Library
1101 S. Goodwin
Urbana, IL  61801

phone: (217) 333-5856

email Susan

Natural History Image Resources

A collection of image resource databases for Natural History.  They are arranged by the following subject headings: Illinois, General, Animals, Insects, and Plants. Some images have copyright restrictions.  The resources marked with this symbol UIUC Icon  are only accessible anywhere on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign  campus or via the University Library's proxy server with NetID and password.   


CARLIdigital collections 

CARLI Digital Collections was established in 2006 as a repository for digital content created by member libraries of the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI) or purchased by the consortium for use by its members. CARLI Digital Collections uses the CONTENTdm digital asset management tool to describe and deliver digital representations of myriad special collections including printed and manuscript materials, images, and sound recordings.

IllinoisHarvest Image Collection  

The Illinois Harvest / Large-scale Digitization Initiative is digitizing scholarly research contributions of the University and content about Illinois history, culture, and natural resources from the collections of the University of Illinois Library at Urbana-Champaign.  This link takes you to image collection.

University of Illinois Archives Images 

Images from the University of Illinois Archives.


Animal diversity Web (ADW)

An online database of animal natural history, distribution, classification, and conservation biology at the University of Michigan.  Thousands of species accounts about individual animal species.  These may include text, pictures of living animals, photographs and movies of specimens, and/or recordings of sounds.  Students write the text of these accounts and we cannot guarantee their accuracy. 

The birds of North America online UIUC Icon

BNA Online contains image and video galleries showing plumages, behaviors, habitat, nests and eggs, and more. And most online BNA accounts now feature recordings of the songs and calls of their species.

Cyanobacteria Image Gallery

Over 200 beautiful images and videos of cyanobacteria offered as freeware for publication and presentation


Geir’s Macro Gallery 

On this web site the creator organized his collection of macro photos of insects, spiders and other arthropods. Most of the photos are taken in Norway, but some were taken while traveling in various parts of the world.

Insect Images by Taxonomic Group  

Extensive list of insect images and other resources on the Iowa State Entomology Index of Internet Resources.

Lacewing Digital Library 

The Lacewing Digital Library (LDL) is a web portal designed to provide convenient access to a wealth of digital information pertaining to the lacewings, antlions, fishflies, snakeflies and related insects of the superorder Neuropterida (orders Neuroptera, Megaloptera and Raphidioptera).

Lepidoptera Image Gallery  

Rainforest butterfly image database from the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Lepidoptera Pro includes up–to–date species catalogue, individual descriptions and image gallery. 

North American Insects and Spiders  

Explore over 5,000 close-up pictures of live, wild insects and spiders. 


Images and botanical taxonomic descriptions of plant species from a number of floras.

JSTOR Global Plants UIUC Icon

Global Plants is a community-contributed database where worldwide herbaria can share their plant type specimens.  Global Plants contains the contributed collections of more than 300 herbaria from around the globe with nearly 2 million high resolution type specimens.  Herbaria preserve plant type specimens that are used for the study of botany, ecology, and other plant science disciplines. 

Plants Database 

The PLANTS Database provides standardized information about the vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the U.S. and its territories.  The PLANTS Gallery has over 50,000 images and emphasizes photos and line drawings of U.S. plants but also contains many cultivated or foreign taxa.

Scott’s Botanical Links 

MASSIVE list of botanical image resources and other botanical resources.  To find images click on the “Pictorial Resources (Illustrations) on the left hand side of the page.

Smithsonian Catalog of Botanical Illustrations  

The Department of Botany in the National Museum of Natural History is building a database of botanical illustrations curated by the department's scientific illustrator, Alice Tangerini (view illustrations byAlice Tangerini). One of the goals of this long-term project is to make an on-line illustrated catalog of these illustrations available for our staff and others needing access to this information. 

Tree Encyclopedia 

The tree encyclopedia offers information and diagnostic photos for over 450 tree species.

Tropicos Image 

Tropicos® was originally created for internal research but has since been made available to the world’s scientific community. All of the nomenclatural, bibliographic, and specimen data accumulated in MBG’s electronic databases during the past 25 years are publicly available here.  Image search is a rich collection of images and drawings related to the Tropicos research.


American Philosophical Society Digital Library  

The APS Digital Library provides access to a wide variety of digitized items from the holdings of the American Philosophical Society.  Many of the items in the Digital Library can be viewed with addition context by using our Collections Search, and viewing manuscript finding aids.

American Memory 

American Memory provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. It is a digital record of American history and creativity. These materials, from the collections of the Library of Congress and other institutions, chronicle historical events, people, places, and ideas that continue to shape America, serving the public as a resource for education and lifelong learning.


With the help of the world’s best wildlife filmmakers and photographers, conservationists and scientists, we are creating an awe-inspiring record of life on Earth.  Freely accessible to everyone and preserved for the benefit of future generations, ARKive is a truly invaluable resource for conservation, education and public awareness.


The ARTstor Digital Library is a nonprofit resource that provides over 1.6 million digital images in the arts, architecture, humanities, and sciences with an accessible suite of software tools for teaching and research.  

Associated Press Image Collection UIUC Icon

The content is primary source, and is provided by The Associated Press.  Founded in 1848, the AP is the oldest and largest news organization in the world and is an important part of modern-day world history, serving more than one billion people each day.

Biodiversity Heritage Library Image Collection 

Images from the BHL database can be found and downloaded from this flickr database.

British Printed Images to 1700 

This website, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, makes available a database of thousands of prints and book illustrations from early modern Britain in fully-searchable form.

CONTENTdm Collection of Collections 

Here you will find records representing a sampling of collections created by the libraries and cultural heritage organizations using CONTENTdm today. Some records represent individual collections; some connect you to entire digital libraries.

Field Book Project 

The FBP is building a Field Book Registry that will serve as the single location for field book content, not only at the Smithsonian, but also across the country. The FBP uses a two tier descriptive cataloging process, cataloging field notes at both the collection level and the more granular item level. Additionally, the FBP creates authority records about the persons, organizations, and expeditions responsible for creating the field notes we catalog. 

Gallica Digital Library 

Digital image collection from the National Library of France.

Google Image Search

To find images on the web on a wide variety of topics search Google Images.

Human Anatomy online 

Hundreds of interactive anatomy pictures and descriptions of thousands of objects in the body, will help you discover what you want to know about human anatomy, right here at your fingertips.

Internet Archive 

The Internet Archive is best described as a digital library, and hosts a variety of media such as image, video, audio, text, software, and archived web pages (you may know the Wayback Machine). Digitized books created by UIUC are made available through the Internet Archive (as well as Illinois Harvest), as well as digitized books created by other contributing libraries. For more information on finding images through the IA's digitized books, click here

Morphbank ALA 

Morphbank ALA is a continuously growing database of images that scientists use for international collaboration, research and education. Images deposited in Morphbank ALA document a wide variety of research including: specimen-based research in comparative anatomy, morphological phylogenetics, taxonomy and related fields focused on increasing our knowledge about biodiversity. 


The PaDIL site contains many images, including images of Australian and exotic pests, pathogens and endemic species. The intellectual property rights in these images remain the property of the photographer or institution.  Unless an image is marked otherwise, all images are licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australian License.


The Symbiota Image Library is designed to manage images obtained from field expeditions, physical specimens, and photo vouchered observations. Simple field images lack specific locality information or we obtained outside of the portals geographic boundaries.

William W. Shilts Geologic Image Gallery 

Images collected by William Shilts from when he worked on various geologic projects throughout the country and collected several thousand images of glacial geology, glacial sediments and periglacial features.

World Heritage Site 

UNESCO. Images and descriptions of over 700 protected cultural and natural sites worldwide arranged alphabetically by country. Click on Criteria for more information about the project and sites.