Parasitic worms collection

A tapeworm worm under magnification with a black background.

The Natural History Museum houses one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of parasitic worms in the world. 

The parasitic worms section includes terrestrial and marine Platyhelminthes (flatworms), parasitic Nematoda (roundworms), Nematophorpha (horsehair worms) and Acanthocephala.

The collection has worldwide coverage and is particularly rich in material from Africa. We hold a large number of species that parasitize marine fishes from both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

There are many major personal collections including those of Harry Arnold Baylis, David R. Burt, Otto Fuhrmann, W.Grant Inglis, Clayton Lane, P. Le Roux, P.A. Maplestone, Stanislaw Markowski, F.J. Meggitt, Gwendolyn Rees, C.T.E. von Siebold, T. Southwell, W. Woodland, Mark Viney and Klaus Rohde.


Specimen breakdown by Phylum

  • Platyhelminthes (flatworms):
    • Cestoda, 135,000 (wet), 50,000 (slides)
    • Monogenea, 1,600 (wet), 15,500 (slides)
    • Tubellaria, 5,000 (wet), 7,000 (slides)
    • Trematoda, 26,000 (wet), 45,000 (slides)
  • Nematoda (roundworms): 85,000 (wet), 45,000 (slides)
  • Nematomorpha (horsehair worms): 560 (wet), 560 (slides)
  • Acanthocephala: 5,000 (wet), 700 (slides)

Important historical collections

  • International Institute of Parasitology type collection
  • Harry Arnold Baylis collection
  • David R. Burt collection
  • Otto Fuhrmann collection
  • W. Grant Inglis collection
  • P. Le Roux collection

Expedition material

  • HMS Discovery Antarctic investigations (1925-1928)
  • Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (B.A.N.Z.A.R.E.) (1929-1930)
  • Terra Nova Antarctic expedition (1910-1913)

Looking for a specimen?

This collection is being digitised

Principal Curator in Charge, Invertebrates (non-insects)

Dr Lauren Hughes

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

Core research labs and consulting

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

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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