Australian Museum Marine Invertebrate Collections

The Marine Invertebrate collection contains specimens from all invertebrate groups except molluscs, insects and spiders.

Swimming crab Ovalipes molleri

H. McLennan © Australian Museum

Crustaceans are animals that have:

  • a segmented body with a hardened shell
  • seven or more pairs of appendages for feeding, moving and reproduction
  • limbs which generally have two branches
  • two pairs of antennae
  • gills for breathing

Polychaetes are animals that typically have:

  • a long, basically cylindrical body
  • a body segmented both internally and externally
  • a pair of leg-like appendages (not jointed) attached to every body segment

About the collection

The current focus of the collection is on polychaetes (segmented worms) and crustaceans (lobsters, crayfish, prawns, crabs, seed shrimps, barnacles, slaters and pill bugs) which reflects the research interests of the marine invertebrate staff.

The Marine Invertebrate collections contain registered specimens, microscope slides, Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) preparations and photographic images. They include various marine invertebrates, and all other invertebrates except molluscs, insects and spiders, including freshwater and terrestrial representatives. The specimens contained in the collections are predominantly from New South Wales, Australia and the Indo-Pacific

The type collection comprises more than 9000 type lots, including more than 2000 primary types (types are the original specimens on which the first description of a species is based).

In addition to the registered collections there are also additional unsorted and unidentified collections, categorised by various taxonomic levels.

Combined with the Australian Museum Research Library the section also houses one of the largest collections of books and journal reprints in Australia providing taxonomic information on many invertebrate groups. This resource is available for use by scientists, students and the public by appointment. The reprint collection is currently being entered onto a computerised bibliographic database.

Marine Invertebrate Collections - Overview of taxonomic groups held


Dr Stephen Keable , Collection Manager, Marine Invertebrates
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