Siphonaptera collections

Hystrichopsylla talpae talpae, mole flea

Hystrichopsylla talpae talpae, mole flea

The flea collection is large and of great historical importance.


260,000               925                        

Specimens                      Type specimens 

Collection strengths

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.

Material type

 The bulk of the specimens are mounted on microscope slides. The remainder are stored in fluid.

Geographical range

The geographical range of the flea collection is worldwide.

Rothschild collection

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

Senior curator

Dr Erica McAlister

Important historical collections

Rothschild collection

Any questions ?

If you would like to use any specimens for research   

Accessing the collections

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

Insect division

Our scientists are conserving the Museum's vast insect collection, collecting and identifying new species and utilizing the collections for cutting edge entomological 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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