Our Crustacea collections contain significant historical material and recently collected specimens across all Orders. 

We hold collections associated with the renown William Elford Leach, Adam White, John Robert Henderson; Charles Spence-Bate; Edward J. Miers, Terrance Rathcoe, Read Stebbing, Alfred Merle Norman, A. O. Walker and Keppel Harcourt Barnard.

Notable collectors are Hermann von Maltzan and John Murray. Material from de Haan, W. Stimpson, G.O. Sars, Wilhelm Liljeborg, Della Valle, Wood-Mason and Alcock are present in the collection, thanks to exchange or gifts through the prolific and collegiate Edwardian to Victorian era.

Other significant ties, acquisitions and gifts:

  • Smithsonian Institution, W. Stimpson and Sidney Irving (S.I.) Smith
  • Indian Museum, Calcutta (1879 to 1903) via Wood-Mason, Anderson and Alcock
  • San Francisco circa 1879 via W.N. Lockington
  • material display at the 1883 International Fisheries Exhibition (including China)
  • Warsaw Museum ~1856 to 1879 collections (mainly of Stolzman and Jelski) Black Sea, Turkey, French Guiana, Peru
  • Australian Museum circa 1885; 1890 (BMNH 1885.22)
  • Sarawak Museum ~1900 (coll. R. Shelford, via William Forster Lanchester), Malaysia; Siboga Expedition (1899 to 1900) Mainly Cumacea ~20 lots
  • Lake Baikal, Russia.

Building on collections amassed from around the world, recent acquisitions have come from Asia, the Gulf of Mexico, Antarctica (hydrothermal vents), St Helena and the UK.  

Specimen breakdown by  some major groupings:

  • Amphipoda: 29,000 (wet, dry, slides)
  • Cirripedia: 58,000 (wet, dry, slides)
  • Copepoda: 73,000 (wet, slides)
  • Cumacea: 2,900 (wet, slides)
  • Decapoda: 612,000 (wet, dry, slides)
  • Isopoda: 110,000 (wet, dry, slides)
  • Mysidacea: 56,000 (wet, dry, slides)
  • Ostracoda: 58,000 (wet, slides)
  • Stomatopoda: 3,400 (wet, slides)
  • Tanaidacea: 2,100 (wet, slides)
  • Branchiopoda xxxx (wet, slides)

Important historical collections

  • Charles Spence Bate collection
  • Alfred Merle Norman collection
  • T.R.R. Stebbing collection (Peracarida: isopods and amphipods)

Expedition material

  • HMS Congo (West Africa)
  • HMS Fly (South West Pacific including Australia)
  • HMS Rattlesnake (South West Pacific)
  • HMS Challenger (global oceanographic mission)
  • HMS Sylvia (Japan and Korea)
  • HMS Alert (South America and South Pacific)
  • Terra Nova Expedition (Antarctica)
  • HMS Discovery Antarctic expedition
  • IOS Discovery collection (Atlantic Ocean)

Looking for a specimen?

This collection is being digitised


Miranda Lowe

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

Specialist reference libraries

Crustacea Section Library

Core research labs and consulting

Our research lab teams are available for complex on-site imaging and analysis of biological and geological samples.