The flea collection is large and of great historical importance.
Specimens Type specimens
The collection contains an estimated at 260,000 Siphonaptera specimens representing 73 per cent of the 2,587 described species and subspecies of fleas, including 925 primary types.
The bulk of the specimens are mounted on microscope slides. The remainder are stored in fluid.
The geographical range of the flea collection is worldwide.
At the centre of the Siphonaptera collection is the Rothschild collection given to the Museum as a deed of gift in 1913. It was not registered as Museum property until 1923, when Charles Rothschild died.
The seven volume Catalogue of the Rothschild Collection of Fleas was published by the British Museum of Natural History between 1953 and 1987.
Looking for a specimen?
The siphonaptera collection is being digitised
Important historical collections
Any questions ?
If you would like to use any specimens for research
We have set out on an ambitious programme to develop a new science and digitisation centre at Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire by 2026. As we prepare for the move, access to some collections will be affected.
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