Marine Invertebrates

Learn how pollution and tourism destroy coral, uncover the deep-sea secrets of vampire squid, and find out how a fin whale roundworm lives in its host.

Stony Coral at the entrance to the Marine Invetebrates gallery

In  Marine Invertebrates gallery learn about some of the ocean’s more unusual inhabitants – and about the effects human activity can have on them.

The red eyes and jet-black skin of a vampire squid.

The vampire squid gets its name from its red eyes, jet-black skin and the webbing between its arms. It lives in oceans up to 3,500 metres deep and has its own light organs to illuminate the darkness.

Basket star

Part of the echinoderm family, this creature is called a basket star, and is related to a starfish. It lives at the bottom of the ocean and uses its highly-branched arms to catch small animals drifting in the water.

A sea fans that looks like a plant but is actually an animal.

These delicate-looking sea fans look like beautiful plants, but they are actually animals. Their flat surfaces face the current so their tentacles can strain food out of the water.

Specimen of Fin whale roundworms.

Fin whale roundworms can grow to eight metres long inside other animals. These are the front ends of several round worms found in the blood vessels of a fin whale’s kidney.

Deep red organ-pipe coral.

From white stony coral, to deep red organ-pipe coral, our display includes beautiful coral specimens with a fascinating variety of patterns and textures. Marvel at these amazing creatures, and find out why you should say ‘no’ to coral and shell souvenirs.


See our diverse collection of molluscs, which includes many rare specimens. Molluscs are a group of invertebrates that includes squid, octopus, cuttlefish, snails, mussels, clams and oysters.