Curation project

Polychaete 'type' collection

The National polychaete collection is held at the Museum and  holds 2,170 polychaete 'type' specimens. 

A 'type' specimen is an individual which holds the species name, with all future specimens referring back to the type description.

Each specimen is given a reference number when it is placed in the national collection. For example the reference number for the E. nodosa type specimen shown here is 1865.3.9.34 

Photography of the polychaete 'type' collection

Many of our polychaete type specimens are now very old, for example over 20% are from the 1800s, a large number of these are Challenger expedition material.

To improve accessibility to the polychaete type collection the museum has started a project to photograph the entire collection and make it available online. 10% of the project  has been completed and we hope to have the complete polychaete collection available online in 5 years time.

The project will enable 

  • researchers to 
    • access images on demand through our KE EMu database
    • inspect the specimens 
    • assess whether borrowing the material is appropriate or necessary
  • members of the public to
    • access our wet collections (formalin or alcohol preserved) 
    • the public cannot normally access this material.