Brachypelma smithi, Mexican red-knee tarantula

Brachypelma smithi, Mexican red-knee tarantula

Our wide-ranging, global collection of Arachnida (spiders and scorpions) is rich in type specimens. We also hold important collections of Myriapoda (centipedes and millipedes), Pycnogonida (sea spiders) and Xiphosura (horseshoe crabs).

Collectors of note for Arachnida and Myriapods are Carl Ludwin Koch, William Elford Leach, Eugen von Keyserling, Reginald Innes Pocock and also Karl Wilhelm Verhoeff (for Myriapods). The collection includes whole organisms (wet and dry) along with a nest and egg sac.

Important Acari collections are those from: K. K. Hyatt, C. D. Radford, J. E Hull, C. F. George, C. D. Soar, W. Williamson, S. Mahunka, G. O. Evans, J. N. Halbert, C. Warburton, A. Fain, R. Husband, W. Till, F. A. Turk and M. Hammer.

The Pycnogonid collection includes the material from the HMS Challenger. The collection expanded greatly from the contributions of Roger Bamber.

A modest collection of Xiphosura dates from the late 1800s.

Breakdown of major groupings

  • Acari: 700,000 (wet, slides)
  • Araneae: 610,000 (wet)
  • Chilopoda: 12,000 (wet)
  • Diplopoda: 24,000 (wet)
  • Myriapoda: 3,000 (wet, dry)
  • Opiliones: 20,000 (wet)
  • Scorpiones: 118,000 (wet)
  • Pycnogonida: 3,000 (wet, slides)
  • Xiphosura: 130 (wet, slide)

Important historical collections

  • C.L. Koch
  • William Elford Leach
  • Keyserling

Looking for a specimen?

This collection is being digitised


Jan Beccaloni

If you would like to use any specimens for research, please get in touch

Principal Curator in Charge, Invertebrates (non-insects)

Dr Lauren Hughes

If you would like to use any specimens for research, please get in touch

Accessing the collections

Scientists and collections management specialists can visit the collections and borrow specimens for research.

Collections management

Our duty is to provide a safe and secure environment for all of our collections.

Collections on the move

We have set out on an ambitious programme to develop a new science and digitisation centre. As we prepare for the move, access to some collections will be affected. 

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