Terrestrial invertebrate collections

The Natural History Museum’s collection of insects and other terrestrial and freshwater arthropods, including spiders, mites and myriapods, comprises an estimated 30 million specimens, 18 million of which are housed in the new Darwin Centre.  

The collections are worldwide in origin and rich in:

  • type specimens
  • voucher specimens
  • historical material


Voucher specimen
A specimen used for scientific study that is deposited in a permanent collection (usually in a Museum, an institution committed to long-term maintenance) for future reference.

Type specimen
This is a unique voucher specimen that serves as the basis for the taxonomic description of a species. Scientists refer back to it whenever they reassess the status of that species or need to confirm the identification of new material.