Our Invertebrate Collections contain the largest number of specimens in the museum. They can be broadly divided into:
In addition there are discrete collections of other terrestrial forms (e.g. spiders and millipedes) and freshwater invertebrates (e.g. snails). The collections are separated into wet preserved specimens, dried specimens and models, and microscope slides.
We house several historically significant collections. In recent years we have acquired a number of large and scientifically important collections of marine invertebrates through collaboration with a variety of institutions with an emphasis on retaining samples from British waters.
There are now nearly four million specimens of marine invertebrates in the collection, which form an invaluable resource for the research of British marine fauna, especially the North Atlantic deep sea.
Our Invertebrate section also includes an extensive Entomological collection containing a further two million specimens from all over the world.
We have particular strengths in Lepidoptera, Odonata, Hymenoptera, small orders and certain Coleoptera and Diptera.
Although worldwide in scope, the collection is particularly rich in Scottish material and the collection is frequently consulted for this reason.
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Specific responsibility: Head of Invertebrate collections. Curation and development of the collection of marine and terrestrial invertebrates, including insects.
Research interests/expertise: Taxonomy of fungus gnats (Diptera: Sciaroidea); systematics, phylogeny and palaeontology of true flies (Insecta: Diptera); biodiversity informatics.
Specific responsibility: Curation and development of the collections of marine invertebrates including Porifera, Cnidaria, Crustacea, Bryozoa, Echinodermata and Tunicata; research loans and enquiries.
Research interests/expertise: Development of the collections of Scottish marine invertebrates; taxonomy and biogeography of benthic harpacticoid copepods; subterranean biology and the ecology of invertebrates inhabiting terrestrial cave environments.
Specific responsibility: Curation and collection development of Mollusca and brachiopod collections (worldwide).
Research interests/expertise: Taxonomy and biogeography of the British Hydrobiidae (mud snails). Ecologically orientated work has included studies of the distribution of the molluscan faunas around Britain.
Specific responsibility: Development of the insect collection, ensuring suitability for molecular research, including the curation of the voucher collections from national and international genomic projects.
Research interests/expertise: British insects; Coleoptera (especially Silphidae – carrion beetles); science communication.
Specific responsibility: Curation and development of the insect collections; research loans and enquiries.
Research interests/expertise: Ecology and evolution of social insects (mainly Hymenoptera); science communication and engagement with a focus on empowering young women in STEM.
Specialises in polychaete taxonomy with a special interest in temperate Cirratulidae, Polynoidae and tropical Sabellaridae. Also the zoogeography of chaetognaths, a different group of planktonic worms.
Interested in Scottish and European Diptera. Regularly donates data-rich specimens to the National Museums Scotland collections. Ongoing collaborations involve several projects on specific dipteran groups, particularly on taxonomic and conservation subjects.
Specialises in Diptera - especially lower Brachycera and Empidoidea – and other terrestrial insects of riverine and upland habitats.
Particular focus on Diptera, especially Syrphidae (hoverflies) and saproxylic Diptera (dead wood flies); their larvae, functional morphology; phylogenetics, biodiversity and conservation.
Specialises in the taxonomy, biology and ecology of parasitic wasps, especially Western Palaearctic Ichneumonidae and Braconidae.
Interested in the phylogenetics and taxonomy of mayflies (Ephemeroptera); aquatic communities: biomonitoring, conservation, and biodiversity discovery using genetics.
Our specimens represent Scotland’s geological history and global mineralogical diversity.
Our collections date from the mid-1800s and include samples of many different groups of animals.
Our collection covers all the major groups of fossil invertebrates, vertebrates, plants and trace fossils.
Our collections comprise more than 200,000 vertebrate specimens from around the world.